Roger Shimomura Chronology
This Module's Related Archives:
Toku Shimomura Diary
History as Art: Japanese Incarceration
Roger Shimomura Chronology
1939: Born in Seattle, Washington
1942-1944: Interned with Family and more than 10,000 other people of Japanese descent at Camp Minidoka, Hunt, Idaho
Young Roger, his parents, and his grandparents were forced to report to Puyallup Assembly Center on the Washington State fairgrounds in April 1942. Roger recalls spending his third birthday in Puyallup. In August, the Shimomuras, with other Japanese-Americans from the Seattle area, traveled by train to the Minidoka Relocation Center near Hagerman, Idaho. Roger recalled in an interview with the Denshō Foundation that the harsh Idaho winter was difficult. “I never remembered ice like that, and the flooding, how everything just turned into this quagmire.” Minidoka had 9,397 inmates in 1943 and was divided into 35 residential blocks of 12 barracks in which families had sparsely-furnished apartments. The camp had its own hospital, schools, and shops. Inmates held jobs, and Shimomura’s father, pharmacist Eddie Kazuo Shimomura, worked at Minidoka’s hospital.
“During the family’s interment, a paternal uncle served as an interpreter for the US military intelligence corps, and three of Shimomura’s maternal uncles served in the US Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd was composed entirely of Nisei, 2nd generation Japanese Americans—became most decorated of all US military units
Shimomura notes that after the interment ‘the house was purged of everything event remotely Japanese.’ [As quoted in Stamey, Emily. The Prints of Roger Shimomura: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1968-2005 (Lawrence, KS: Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, 2007), 17; henceforth: “CR”]
1943: Roger’s father, Eddie Shimomura, left Minidoka in 1943 with the government’s permission to find a job, and his family later joined him in 1944 in Chicago.
1944-45: Attended kindergarden in Chicago, IL before returning to Seattle, WA
1945 – 1953: Elementary and Junior High School. Shimomura notes in his Convocation Address for the College Art Association, delivered in 2003: “All through grade school and junior high school, our favorite neighborhood game was not ‘Cowboy and Indians, but ‘Kill the Japs,’ bringing to life the values from the comics that I collected. We reluctantly took turns being the “Jap,” though we all preferred to be, of course, John Wayne, the most prolific Jap killer of the time.”
1953 -1957: Attends Garfield High School
Garfield High School, a unique high school for the 1950’s; approximately 1/3 white, 1/3 black, and 1/3 Asian, known now for its musical legacy built by such former students as Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, Jimmi Hendrix, and countless numbers of other famous jazz and rock groups.
(In the summer of Summer 2012, Shimomura gave commencement address at Garfield)
1957: Enrolled as undergraduate at the University of Washington, Seattle
There participates in ROTC
1961: Received BA in Commercial Design, University of Washington
At behest of family friend Shiro Kashino, veteran of 442nd, Shimomura enrolls in Army as commissioned officer (rather than enlisted man) – He is motivated to do so because until late in WW II, Japanese men were not allowed to serve as officers
Notes that this decision represents something monumental for him: “For the first time in my young life, I made a decision that was not for me but for the community from which I was a charter member.” (CR, 18)
1962-64: Served in the US Army (Korea and Ft. Lewis, Washington)
1964-65: Worked as commercial designer, Seattle
1965-66: Enrolled as graduate student in the School of Art at the University of Washington
1966-67: Worked in a studio in Pioneer Square, Seattle, to prepare for first drawing exhibition
1967: Attended summer painting program at Stanford University, Paolo Alto, CA
Began graduate studies in the Painting Dept. at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Made first screen prints
1969: Received MFA in Painting from Syracuse University
Accepted faculty position in then Dept. of Drawing and Painting, now the Dept. of Art, at The University of Kansas, Lawrence (henceforth: KU)
1970: Together with fellow KU professor Michael Ott, received a University General Research Grant to obtain equipment for screen printing and further explore the technique; this leads to the introduction of screen printing into KU art curriculum
1975: Received Japan Foundation Travel Grant for three months of travel in Japan
“Roger Shimomura: Oriental Masterpieces and Masterprints,” Charlotte Crosby Kemper Gallery, Kansas City, MO, June 16-July 2, 1975.
1976: Oriental Masterprints, Gallery Heian, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto, Japan, March 16-21, 1976 and Franell Gallery, Akasaka, Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 16-23, 1976
1977-92: Stopped printing his own images, hired former KU student, Tom Moore, as printer
1977: “Recent Oriental Masterpieces: Paintings and Prints,” Polly Friendlander Gallery, Seattle, Jan. 13- Feb. 1, 1977
1980-1981: Akiko Day translates diaries of Roger’s grandmother, Toku Shimomura.
1983: Journey to Minidoka: The Paintings of Roger Shimomura. Ogden, UT: the Collett Art Gallery, Weber State College, 1983. Published in conjunction with the exhibition “Journey to Minidoka: The Paintings of Roger Shimomura” shown at the Collett Art Gallery, Weber State College, January 3-28, 1984.
1985: Made first lithograph with Michael Sims at the Lawrence Lithography workshop
“Seven Kabuki Plays Project”
1988: Roger Shimomura: Recent Paintings Performance: The Trans Siberian Excerpts. Cleveland, OH: the Art Gallery, Cleveland State University, 1988. Published in conjunction with the exhibition “Roger Shimomura: Recent Paintings Performance: The Trans Siberian Excerpts” shown at the Art Gallery, Cleveland State University, April 1-29, 1988.
1990: In the fall of 1990, Shimomura held an appointment as the Dayton Hudson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.
1991: The Archives of American Arts, Smithsonian Institution, begins collecting Shimomura’s papers
1992: “Roger Shimomura: Yellow No Same: Paintings and Prints,” Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, Washington, July 2 – Aug. 2, 1992
1993: Lew, William W. Roger Shimomura: Return of the Yellow Peril. Spokane, WA: Cheney Cowles Museum, 1993. Published in conjunction with the exhibition “Roger Shimomura: Return of the Yellow Peril” shown at the Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane, WA, February 19-March 28, 1993.
1994: Becomes the first Fine Arts faculty member in Kansas University’s history to be honored as a University Distinguished Professor.
1995: “Japanese American Prints,” Hesston College, Heston, KS, Feb. 5-28, 1995
“Campfire Diary” Performed at NMAH
1996: “Roger Shimomura: Paintings, Prints, Installation, and Performance,” Bellvue Art Museum, Bellvue, Washington, Sept. 20 – Dec. 1, 1996.
1996-1997: “Roger Shimomura, Delayed Reactions, A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings, Prints, Performance and Installation Art From 1973 to 1996” Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, and several other venues
1994: Appointed University Distinguished Professor, KU
1997: Received grant from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund to support work on the painting series: An American Diary
1998: “A Look at Japanese American Identity,” Fine Arts Center Gallery, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AK
Recipient of the Higuchi Research Award, the highest annual research honor awarded to a faculty member in Humanities and Social Sciences.
1999: Seattle Urban League establishes a scholarship in his name to be awarded annually to a Seattle resident pursuing a career in art
1999-2002: “Roger Shimomura: An American Diary,” travels to numerous venues.
2000: Shimomura publishes his “Thrift Store Haiku.” Emergences 10, no. 1. (2000): 79-80.
2001: Receives the Artist Award fro Most Distinguished Body of Work from the College Art Association
2002: Receives the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award from KU
“Memories of Childhood: Lithographs by Roger Shimomura,” Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, Sept. 12-Oct. 14, 2002.
2003: Delivered the keynote address at the 91st annual conference of the College Art Association, NYC, “The 63 Stages of the Yellow Brick Road”
2004: Retires from teaching at KU
Established Roger Shimomura Faculty Research Support Fund, an endowment to foster faculty research in the Department of Art at KU.
Lippard, Lucy R. Roger Shimomura: Stereotypes and Admonitions. Seattle, WA: Greg Kucera Gallery, 2004. Published in conjunction with the exhibition “Roger Shimomura: Stereotypes and Admonitions” shown at the Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA, March 4-27, 2004.
“Roger Shimomura: Three Suites from Inside the Barbed Wire Fence,” Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, Oct. 31-Nov. 21, 2004
“Prints by Roger Shimomura,” Carlton College, Northfield, MN; Sept. 20-Nov. 19, 2004
“Geography of Memory: Selected Works on Paper by Roger Shimomura,” Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA, Sept. 17, 2004-Jan. 2, 2005.
2005: “Mistaken Identities,” Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, Washington, Sept. 1 – Oct. 1, 2005
Lew, William W. Minidoka Revisited: The Paintings of Roger Shimomura. Clemson, SC: Lee Gallery, Clemson University, 2005.
2006: Received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Washington
“Nikkei Story,” The Flomenhaft Gallery, NYC (Jan. 26-March 18, 2006)
“Three Suits on the Interment of Roger Shimomura, “Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Augusta, GA, Jan. 13-March 17, 2006
2007: Minidoka on My Mind: Recent Work by Roger Shimomura. Seattle, WA: Greg Kucera Gallery, 2007. Published in conjunction with the exhibition “Minidoka on My Mind: Recent Work by Roger Shimomura” shown at the Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA, November 15- December 29, 2007.
Stamey, Emily. The Prints of Roger Shimomura: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1968-2005. Lawrence, KS: Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, 2007.
The Return of the Yellow Peril: A Survey of the Work of Roger Shimomura, 1969-2007. Kansas City, MO: Mid-America Arts Alliance, 2007. Published in conjunction with the exhibition “The Return of the Yellow Peril: A Survey of the Work of Roger Shimomura, 1969-2007” shown at the Clemson, SC: Lee Gallery, Clemson University, 2007.
2008: Newman/ Shimomura: views from both sides of the barbed wire fence. Conway, AR: Baum Gallery of Fine Art, University of Central Arkansas, 2008. Published in conjunction with the exhibition “Newman: views from both sides of the barbed wire fence Shimomura” shown at the Baum Gallery of Fine Art, University of Central Arkansas, January 17-Feburary 26, 2008.
2009: Yellow Terror: The Collections and Paintings of Roger Shimomura. Seattle, WA: Wing Luke Asian Museum, 2009.
2011: Shadows of Minidoka: Paintings and collections of Roger Shimomura. Lawrence, KS: Lawrence Art Center, 2011.
Painter and theater artist Roger Shimomura is one of the 50 recipients of this year’s United States Artists Fellowships
2011-2012: Included in “Asian American Portraits of Encounter” at the National
Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, August 12, 2011 through
October 14, 2012.
2012: Delivers Commencement Address at his alma mater, Garfield High School in
Seattle, June 2012
“Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff (Paintings),” at Eight Modern
Gallery, Seattle, Washington, August 10 – October 13, 2012
2012-2013: Artist in Residence at Asian American/Pacific/American Institute at
New York University
2013: Roger Shimomura, Prints of Pop (and War). New York: Asian/Pacific/American Institute, 2013. Published in conjunction with “Prints of Pop (and War),” at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute, New York University, February 13 – May 10, 2013.
Named to Hall of Fame, Garfield Golden Graduate, Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington, June, 2013
“An American Knockoff (Paintings),” at the Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, Washington, August 22 – September 28, 2013
“Roger Shimomura: Minidoka on My Mind,” Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, August 10 – December 22, 2013.