Skip to main content

Roger Shimomura papers, 1965-1990

Roger Shimomura papers, 1965-1990

Shimomura, Roger, 1939-

Painter, Performance artist, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 2.6 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of painter, printmaker, performance artist, and teacher Roger Shimomura measure 2.6 linear feet and date from 1965 to 1990. Found within the papers are biographical materials, correspondence, writings, notes, printed material, one scrapbook, and photographs.

Biographical materials include a photograph of Shimomura and a resume. The bulk of the papers consist of correspondence files about exhibitions, grants, performances, lectures, and the Japanese-American redress movement. Correspondence is with friends, colleagues, galleries, and with universities and colleges. Correspondents include Frank Chin, Akiko Day, Jonathan R. T. Hughes, and Wayne Miller. Writings and notes include Shimomura's artist's statement, scripts to four plays, and one folder of miscellaneous notes. The papers also include clippings, exhibition announcements, catalogs and miscellaneous printed material. A scrapbook contains clippings of articles that document Shimomura's career. Photographs are of artwork by other artists.

Biographical/Historical Note

Roger Shimomura (1939- ) is a painter, printmaker, and performance artist in Lawrence, Kan. Shimomura was born in Seattle, Wash., a third generation Japanese American (Sansei). Received a B.A. in Graphic Design from the University of Washington, 1961, and M.F.A. in painting from Syracuse University, 1969. Served as an officer in the United States Army, 1962-1965. Since 1969, a member of the faculty of the University of Kansas Department of Art. Shimomura was active in the Japanese American redress movement in the 1970s. His work since the 1970s has combined American popular imagery with the Japanese ukiyo-e tradtion.


Donated 1990 by Roger Shimomura. Collected as part of the Archives of American Art's Northwest Asian-American project in Seattle.

A Finding Aid to the Roger Shimomura Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Roger Shimomura (b. 1939) is a Japanese-American painter, printmaker, performance artist, and teacher who has worked primarily in Kansas since 1969.
Roger Shimomura was born in 1939 in Seattle, Washington. He was a third generation Japanese-American and received his B.A. in Graphic Design from the University of Washington in 1961, and a M.F.A. in Painting from Syracuse University in 1969. Shimomura spent two childhood years in one of 10 concentration camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII, and later served as an officer in the United States Army from 1962 to 1965. He was active in the Japanese-American redress movement in the 1970s. Since the 1970s, Shimomura's work has combined American popular imagery with the Japanese ukiyo-e tradition.
He has had over 125 solo exhibitions of paintings and prints, as well as presented his experimental theater pieces at such venues as the Franklin Furnace, New York City, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Shimomura has been a visiting artist and lectured on his work at more than 200 universities, art schools, and museums across the country. Shimomura began teaching at the University of Kansas' Department of Art in 1969 and worked there until his retirement in 2004. At that time he started the Shimomura Faculty Research Support Fund, an endowment to foster faculty research in the Department of Art. Throughout his career, Shimomura has had numerous exhibitions and experimental theater pieces on a national level. In 1999, the Seattle Urban League designated a scholarship in his name that has been awarded annually to a Seattle resident pursuing a career in art. In 2002, the College Art Association presented him with the "Artist Award for Most Distinguished Body of Work," for his 4 year, 12-museum national tour of the painting exhibition, "An American Diary." Shimomura continues to live and work in Kansas.
The collection is arranged as 6 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1989-1990 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1969-1990 (Boxes 1-3; 2.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1984, 1987-1989 (Box 3; 5 folders)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1975-1990 (Box 4; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 5: Scrapbook, 1975-1989 (Box 4; 1 folder)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1970s (Box 4; 1 folder)
Donated 1990 by Roger Shimomura. Collected as part of the Archives of American Art's Northwest Asian-American project in Seattle.
Processing Information
The Robert Shimomura papers were processed by Jean Fitzgerald in 2001. A finding aid for the collection was created by Eden Orelove in 2011.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Roger Shimomura papers, 1965-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available