Blurring the lines : how Japanese American internment camps re-defined art and religion's relationship


Kristin Bueb

Date of Award


Document Type

Masterʼs Research Paper

Degree Name



Art & Art History


Art and religion, Concentration camps -- United States, Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945


After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor during WWII, anyone of Japanese descent living on the West Coast was placed in internment camps scattered throughout the country. Life inside the camps included many different activities to make life as normal as possible. This study will focus on two intersecting day-to-day activities in particular, the practice of religion within the camps, as well as the creation of art. Art created in the camps was influenced by multiple religious traditions. An analysis of artworks created by professional and amateur artists, interviews and an examination of existing scholarship demonstrates that internment camps created a unique environment for the creation of art. The values of internees reflected the seamless coexistence of Christianity, Buddhism and Shinto in internment camp art.


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