Published July 26, 2016 by Tom Porter

Bowdoin Students Profiled in Japanese Newspaper

Michael Amano ’17 (left) and Justin Ehringhaus ’16. Photography: Anna Aridome
Michael Amano ’17 (left) and Justin Ehringhaus ’16. Photography: Anna Aridome
Two Bowdoin students have attracted the attention of a Japanese newspaper. The pair is currently in Japan, where they’re conducting research for an exhibition due to open next year at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Michael Amano ’17 is spending the summer doing a curatorial fellowship in Hiroshima and Kagoshima. He’s collaborating with Justin Ehringhaus ’16, who’s spending a year studying at Hiroshima University on a MEXT fellowship before returning to Bowdoin to graduate next year.
“untitled,” (schoolchild’s drawing from Hiroshima, Japan), 1953, crayon, pencil, watercolor, tempera on construction paper, by Mitsuo Suehiro
“untitled,” (schoolchild’s drawing from Hiroshima, Japan), 1953, crayon, pencil, watercolor, tempera on construction paper, by Mitsuo Suehiro

While there, they are gathering material for an exhibit of post-World War II drawings by Japanese schoolchildren in Hiroshima in the 1950s. The drawings were part of an art exchange program also involving children in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was organized by Japanese artist Chuzo Tamotzu, who was living in Santa Fe at the time and wanted to foster closer links between the two countries.

Amano and Ehringhaus were profiled in an article that appeared in the Minami Shimbun newspaper in Kagoshima on July 22, 2016. According to Associate Professor of Asian Studies Vyjayanthi Selinger, a followup article will likely be published around August 6, the seventy first anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Selinger said the Hiroshima Peace Media Center is also doing a series of articles about the Bowdoin students, one of which was published this week, but has not yet been translated.

Translation of Minami Shimbun article

Following Footsteps: American Students Visit Kagoshima

Promoting Peace through Children’s Art Exchange

July 22, 2016

Two American students from Maine, Michael Amano (21) and Justin Ehringhaus (22), came to Kagoshima to follow the footsteps of Chuzo Tamotsu (1887-1975), a Tatsugo native who had immigrated to the United States and was known as “the wandering artist.” They hoped to learn more about the eventful life of this anti-war artist from his biographer, Aiko Izumisawa (68, also a Tatsugo native), in preparation for an exhibition opening next year.

Mr. Amano is a senior at Bowdoin College. A relative of Tamotsu’s wife Louise (who died in 2002) donated the children’s artwork to Bowdoin College. Tamotsu, who is known for works such as “Hiroshima Aftermath,” facilitated the children’s art exchange between post-war Hiroshima and Santa Fe, New Mexico as a way to promote peace.

The Bowdoin museum is planning a special exhibition of the children’s drawings. The students connected with Ms. Izumisawa after being introduced by Hiroo Aridome, who teaches Japanese language at Bowdoin College.

Mr. Amano, a third-generation Japanese-American, has been actively searching for the Hiroshima residents who created the artwork as children. “Members of my family were interned (during World War II). I wanted to learn about Tamotsu not only to learn more about the history between Japan and the U.S., but also to connect with my own roots.” Mr. Ehringhaus, who is currently an exchange student at Hiroshima University said, “I was deeply moved by this person who promoted peace through art.”

Ms. Izumisawa, who had met Louise, said that she hoped the museum exhibition would be a success and that more people would learn about Tamotsu’s life and art.

Writer: Masaki Kuwabata

Translator: Anna Aridome