I’ve heard the term ‘Spoiled Sansei’ and I have always been revolted by that notion. The hard work I’ve put into my career has always made me think that I wasn’t spoiled. Yet when I compare my freedom to chase dreams, as compared to my Nisei father, who was interned at Poston and grew up farming, my life has been filled with opportunity. I graduated from UCLA
and subsequently created, published, and co-edited a pop culture magazine called Giant Robot, and later opened shops (Giant Robot Store) in multiple cities and an art gallery (GR2). On the way, I studied photography, co-directed a feature film, designed t-shirts, and traveled. I’m guessing most internees wouldn’t have these chances to try as many projects as I have, and for that I’m thankful.
I’ve asked my father about growing up in Poston. He was younger, probably around ten and although he spent time there; like many internees, he seldom talks about it even when asked. Only recently did he tell me about the wood plank floors that had gaps in between which allowed the dirt and cold in. He also mentioned something about it being in the middle of the desert with nothing around. I’m unsure if he’ll ever speak in detail about his interned life, but I also realize that I don’t need to know everything. I’m happy with him as he is now and I have to hope he’s proud of the projects that I’ve been working on.
This year, I’m hoping to take my parents to the Poston Pilgrimage. They are excited about the idea of being near a casino and I’m excited to see what he memories the location will bring up.
Eric Nakamura and his magazine Giant Robot has been one of the original forefronts of Asian & Asian American pop culture featuring talent from around the country. His store Giant Robot was established in 2001 on Sawtelle in Los Angeles features products from around the world. GR2 Gallery opened down the street two years later. He would work with and/or feature artists such as James Jean,Katsuya Terada, Luke Chueh, David Choe, Audrey Kawasaki, Deth P Sun, Kozyndan, Yoskay Yamamoto and more. Nakamura has put together multiple museum shows, including the Giant Robot Biennale at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo and the 2016 show Silent Wonderment: Exploring the World of Giant Robot at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park. Today, Giant Robot and GR 2 are cornerstones of a bustling Sawtelle street scene on the Westside of L.A.