Grantee: Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, Bob Kuwahara & the Nisei Animators Exhibit

A Wyoming Humanities Spark Grantee.

In 1959, a cartoon mouse named Hashimoto-San stepped onto the silver screen for the very first time. He wasn’t destined for celebrity—like that other mouse—but to his creator, Bob Kuwahara, he was everything. Bob had been an animator in some of America’s biggest cartoon studios before World War II, but that all changed when he and 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in 1942. Visitors to the exhibit learned how Bob and other Japanese American animators like Willie Ito and Gyo Fujikawa used their talents to help bring a little laughter into the lives of incarcerees and eventually go on to create some of the most iconic scenes in animation history.