So begins one of the most compelling first-person narratives from the Second World War, Miné Okubo's graphic novel, Citizen 13660 (1946). As quoted, however, this is an incomplete beginning. The words do not exist on their own but rather accompany a black-and-white comic-strip-style picture of a crowded train station (fig. 1). Newspapers are everywhere, nearly one for every person. The people stand with hunched shoulders, their noses inches from the newsprint as though they are reading with concern. Among the crowd, three specific faces, two men and one woman, look at something other than the news. The men, one on the left margin and one in the top right corner, look at the woman who stands facing the viewer left of center. She seems to react not only to the news but to the emotional state of those around her. In clear anxiety, she clutches her purse tightly...
To See and Be Seen: Miné Okubo's Graphic Novel Citizen 13660
KENNETH HARTVIGSEN is an assistant professor of art history at Brigham Young University. From 2016 to 2022, he was the curator of American art at the BYU Museum of Art. With research interests including nineteenth- and twentieth-century painting, popular illustration, and the visual cultures of popular music, his publications and exhibitions have focused on topics as diverse as modernist landscape painting in Utah, sheet music illustration, war propaganda, and fine-art lithography.
Kenneth Hartvigsen; To See and Be Seen: Miné Okubo's Graphic Novel Citizen 13660. Utah Historical Quarterly 1 October 2023; 91 (4): 334–346. doi: https://doi.org/10.5406/26428652.91.4.06
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