CAAMFest 36, May 10-24

Camp in the Camps

Tina Takemoto is Looking for Jiro.

May 16, 2012

Photo courtesy Maxwell Leung

Looking for Jiro is a short video by San Francisco-based performance artist and writer Tina Takemoto. Takemoto combines historic footage of military propaganda and men’s bodybuilding with her own campy performance in the role of Jiro Onuma, a queer Japanese American man who was imprisoned in a World War II Japanese internment camp in Utah.

Following his death, Takemoto began a project about Onuma for the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian History Archives when she came across a small box of Onuma’s possessions. Although she is a scholar who works in both queer and Asian American studies, this was the first time Takemoto had come across an account of a queer experience in the internment camps; accounts of LGBT people living in the camps were generally unheard of. Takemoto saw Onuma’s narrative as a way to bring this experience to light.


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