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.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!