'Lil Eva-Cuee', published in the Granada Pioneer on 9 August 1944.

Little is known about Rosie Arima, an American-Japanese cartoonist interned in US concentration camps during World War II. She was on the editorial staff of several camp newspapers, contributing cartoons like 'Chig' (Denson Tribune, 1944) and 'Lil' Eva-Cuee' (The Granada Pioneer, 1944).

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese army attacked the U.S. military base Pearl Harbor, causing the U.S. to declare war on Japan. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Executive Order 9066, all first and second generation Japanese-Americans were interned in concentration camps. There were no exceptions for people born on U.S. soil and naturalized citizens. Over 2,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to these detention centers. Rosie Arima was one of them. Other (future) Japanese-American cartoonists who underwent the same fate were Chris Ishii, Willie Ito, Jack Ito, Harry Kuwada, Bob Kuwahara, Bennie Nobori, Eddie Sato, Esther Takei, Tom Okamoto, Iwao Takamoto and Tom Yabu.

'Chig', published in the Denson Tribune on 14 April 1944.

Cartooning career
Rosie Arima's personal background is unknown. In early 1944, she was interned in the Jerome Relocation Center near Jerome, Arkansas. Most of the camp population originated from the San Francisco, Sacramento or Fresno regions, and ten percent came from Hawaii, so Arima was probably either Californian or Hawaiian. Arima served on the editorial board of the semi-weekly camp newspaper, the Denson Tribune. Her comic strip about a boy called 'Chig' was introduced to readers on 11 April 1944. It appeared irregularly and in alternation with another comic strip, 'Alec' by Harry Kuwada. On 30 June 1944, the Jerome Relocation Center closed its doors and Arima was relocated to the Granada Relocation Center in Amache, Colorado. She returned to her cartooning work, filling the vacant spot left by 'Lil' Neebo' cartoonist Jack Ito who went into military service. Arima's aptly titled gag strip 'Lil' Eva-Cuee' then appeared on an irregular base until the prisoners were gradually set free. Simultaneously with Arima's strip appeared Tom Yabu's 'Curlie', a comic strip with a simular irregular publication rhythm.

Rosie Arima took inspiration from her 14 April 'Chig' gag for this 26 July 1944 joke of 'Lil' Eva-Cuee' (The Granada Pioneer).

Series and books by Rosie Arima you can order today:


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