Japanese Plant

Kadowaki--Japanese Plant.JPG
KadowakiMotoichi - Japanese Plant.JPG

Dublin Core


Japanese Plant


The plant depicted here probably is a Japanese arrowhead (Saggitaria japonica), which is native to marshes and due to its edible tuber occasionally called a “duck potato.” Kadowaki’s interest certainly is aesthetic—due to its distinctive leafs and graceful stems—and possibly symbolic, given the arrowhead’s remarkable adaptability. Far from wetlands and indoors, this one still is growing vigorously depite a couple of yellow leafs.

About the Artist: Born Tokorogo, Japan, Kadowaki immigrated to Seattle, WA in 1909, giving as his profession a tailor for the famous Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo. He appears to have lived in California shortly after arrival. As of 1917, he was a waiter at an Oyster Bay, NY restaurant; in 1920 he was butler to the son of a US Vice President in Wayne, NJ; in 1930 he was servant to a Murray Hill attorney; in 1940 he was a cook. These occupations all were considered appropriate for Japanese immigrants, and yet Kadowaki persisted in his art. While in California he took classes at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design, exhibiting there in 1910; while in New York, he took classes at the Art Students League and exhibited at the ACA Gallery and Salons of America. In 1926 he designed a whimsical cockatoo light made of celluloid. After the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor, he was one of seven (along with NDG artist Thomas Nagai) to sign and publish a “Declaration of Japanese-American Artists”: “Let us express here and now our tremendous anxiety for national defense of America; our determination to support it to our utmost as artists and men, and further, to bear arms if necessary to ensure the final victory for the Democratic forces of the world. Whether a Fascist calls himself German, Italian, or Japanese, he is part and parcel of the same plot against all mankind.” Kadowaki became a US citizen in 1953.

Source Consulted: Ruth L. Benjamin, “Japanese Painters in America” Parnassus 7.5 (October 1935): 13–15.


Kadowaki, Motoichi (“Roy”), 1885-1981


Federal Art Project




Ritz, Abigail (photography)

Cooper, Ken (biography)


New Deal Gallery, Genesee Valley Council on the Arts

Object #FA18183


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jpeg, 12.7 MB


Still image



Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Oil painting

Physical Dimensions

23.5 x 30 in.
Condition: cracked paint, stained, surface dirt