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An eBay auction of Japanese interior was held after the protest

LOS ANGELES (AP) – An auction of sketches allegedly painted by an artist at a Japanese boarding school in Mansanar was canceled on Tuesday after groups complained that it was offensive and immoral to benefit from the suffering of imprisoned people.

The auction ended eBay hours before it was due to close after company executives met with Japanese-American groups who saw the sale as a “harmful, massive blockade, a humiliating reminder of imprisonment.”

“It seems immoral and immoral to post this work of art on eBay to the highest bidder,” said Shirley Higuchi, Setsuko’s Secret. Author of the book “Heart Mountain and the Legacy of Japanese American Incarceration”. “When you sell works of art for money made in a time of oppression … it is against the morality of our society.”

In a letter to eBay, the American National Museum of Aponia, the Japanese Aponian American Citizens’ League, and other groups cited the current wave of recent attacks on Asian Americans in the United States.

“Selling our history is never a good thing, but it is especially harmful now that we hear the cries of ‘return to your country’, what we were told during World War II,” they wrote.

Japanese apocalyptic American groups have also acquired a New Jersey auction house to stop selling a much larger collection of internship art in 2015. Hundreds of pieces were handed over to museums commemorating the forced displacement of more than 110,000 people of Japanese descent. for more than three years on the dubious claim that they could betray America in the war.

The artwork for sale on eBay was 20 pencil sketches from 1942-1943 with the name Matsumura written on it along with the word Manzanar. The paintings mainly depict Japanese landscapes, including one of Mount Fuji.

Groups speculated that the artist may have been Giichi Matsumura, who told a series of stories first reported by The Associated Press about a Manzanar prisoner who died during a storm while painting sketches in high Sierra during the last days of the war. Several Matsumura families were housed in a camp 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.

Lori Matsumura, the granddaughter of Giichi, who recently reburied her grandfather’s body in 2019, when a hiker discovered her skeleton, thought the sketches could be her late father, Masaru, or another member of the family. The name in capital letters was like a father signing a high school report.

Crafts and crafts created in 10 Japanese indoor camps often reappeared later in yard sales or auctions. Some people quit their jobs when they left the camp because they had little to go with, nowhere else to go, and some kept it in attics or garages to find later. This was stated by Bernadette John Onson, National Inspector of Manzanar National Historic Site.

If the work of art was one of his relatives, it could be in the trunk of his grandmother’s memoirs kept by his aunt, said Lori Matsumura. The collection, however, lost its family after her aunt died in 2019, և the house became the subject of a lawsuit with her aunt’s partner, which was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Lori Matsumura discovered the auction on Monday, the sixth day of the week, bid $ 82 to try to win the job. When eBay dropped its selling price, it rose to $ 470.

After the groups contacted eBay, the company withdrew from the auction because it violated an artifact policy that prohibited the sale of items from the government or protected lands. This was reported by e-mail by spokeswoman Parmita Chudduri.

Matsumura had a mixed reaction to the sale stop.

“I feel like I may not see those outlines again,” he said. “It depends on the seller’s response.”

According to Higuchi, eBay will contact the seller ում contact one of the groups to try to acquire the collection.

The seller, who is described as a sunset in Sharon Spring, New York, says the work came from a Japanese girlfriend of an ex-girlfriend in the 1980s. The seller did not inform his girlfriend in a further message, noting that the full name of the artist is unknown.

The seller stated that they did not violate eBay’s policies and that other major auction houses had sold similar art.

“It is completely immoral to think that I am doing something wrong,” he wrote in response to a question sent via eBay.

Erin Thompson, a professor of art crime at John O’Neill College of Criminal Justice, said anyone with a legal possession of a work of art had the right to sell it. But he said that one should take into account the circumstances of the creation of the work ադրությունը the intention of the artist. When it is not possible to consult with the creator, a community agreement can be reached.

He said the first question should be about the authenticity of the work, which can be “suspicious at best” on eBay. Any investor who is not puzzled about the origin can take into account the moral issues that are being prepared, says Thompson.

“People do not want to buy controversy over landscape painting,” Thompson said. “They seem to be worth the paper they were created on, not much more.”

Former art dealer Beef Brigman says he bought similar works for Manzanar more than a year ago from the same vendor, an artist named Matsu. He hopes to reunite them with the artist’s family or provide a museum, but he said he would not participate in similar future auctions.

“I did not want them to be scattered in the wind,” he said. “The whole notion that eBay somehow thinks that items made by prisoners in a concentration camp are a commodity for sale … is extremely offensive.”


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