Isamu Noguchi was born in Los Angeles in 1904 to a Japanese father and American mother, and is renowned as one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century. His activities include stage design for dance.
Isamu is an artist with two bloods, Japanese and American. However, it was a difficult world for Isamu to live in at the time, as half-breeds were rare.
His mother, Leonie, was concerned about Isamu's education, so she headed to Japan and enrolled him in an international school in Yokohama. Leonie was determined to have Isamu live as an American, and he attended the school under the name, Isamu Gilmore, however, he was ostracized at school because he was Japanese.
So at the age of 13, Isamu was sent to a boarding school in Indiana, USA. But even here, problems arose. Soon the war broke out and the school was closed.
The principal of the boarding school took Isamu under his wing, and he stayed with this benefactor until he graduated from high school.
Isamu then went on to attend Columbia University. He chose to study medicine rather than become an artist.
At the university, Isamu met an unexpected person. It was Hideyo Noguchi, who had the same last name as Isamu. Hideyo told Isamu that Isamu's father, Yonejiro Noguchi, was a great writer. Yonejiro had left Isamu when he was very young, so Isamu had never met him. However, Isamu remembered only the name "Yonejiro Noguchi." For the first time, he knew that his father was the most famous Japanese writer in the world at that time.
Isamu quit Columbia University soon after hearing about it from Hideyo, and he then enrolled at the Leonardo da Vinci School of Fine Arts.
Isamu also makes a drastic move. He changed his name to "Isamu Noguchi" instead of "Isamu Gilmore," which he had been calling himself.
Isamu had this to say in honor of his own father:
My father, Yonejiro Noguchi, was a Japanese man who was known early on as someone who, through his poetry, helped the West understand the East. I want to do the same work with sculpture.
At this time, the artist Isamu Noguchi was born.
In 1927, Isamu went to Paris to study. In Paris, the capital of art, he gradually emerged. He created a variety of works ranging from abstract sculptures to portrait sculptures, and came to be recognized as a young sculptor.
In 1930, Isamu returned to Japan to meet his father, whom he had longed to meet. At first Yonejiro refused, but when they met, they seemed to be together as if there had been no gap of about 20 years.
However, that happy time soon came to an end. The war broke out, and it was not an environment in which Americans could come to Japan. When the war ended, Isamu sent a letter to Japan to confirm his father's safety. However, Yonejiro had passed away.
Five years after the war ended, Isamu came to Japan again. In Japan, he became well known not only for his sculptures, but also as a comprehensive artist, creating gardens and other works.