Saturday, October 27, 2012

R.I.P. Jimmy Mirikitani

In memory of Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, artist, survivor, peacenik, first-rate eccentric, terrible but enthusiastic singer, star of the award-winning documentary The Cats of Mirikitani.

After renouncing his U.S. citizenship in the artificially strained atmosphere of the Tule Lake camp, he was one of thousands who asked for it back. He didn't get the letter, didn't know his plea was granted. For most of his 92 years he was recognized as a citizen of the United States with a full right to be here, but for much of that time he didn't know it. Reading between the lines, he may have felt he had to get by informally to stay here at all. He worked first as a live-in cook and later, homeless, as a street artist.

Gil Asakawa's appreciation is here. As he says, Mr. Mirikitani "lived a full second life in just the span of a decade, thanks to [filmmaker and rescuer Linda] Hattendorf."

Sympathy to her and to his other friends and family.

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