Lone Heart Mountain (book)


RG Media Type books
Title Lone Heart Mountain
Creators Estelle Ishigo
Interest Level Grades 9-12; Adult
Theme Displacement; Evils of racism; Hazards of passing judgment; Injustice
Genre Memoir
Point-of-View/Protagonist Characteristics Told from perspective of white woman married to Nisei
Availability Limited availability
Free Web Version No
Geography Los Angeles, California; Heart Mountain, Wyoming
Chronology 1942–48
Facility Heart Mountain [5] - Cody, Wyoming; Pomona [24] - Pomona, California
Title Lone Heart Mountain
Author Estelle Ishigo
Illustrator Estelle Ishigo
Original Publisher N.p.
Original Publication Date 1972
Current Publisher Heart Mountain High School Class of 1947
Current Publication Date 1989
Pages 104
WorldCat Link https://www.worldcat.org/title/lone-heart-mountain/oclc/595532

Illustrated memoir of life at Heart Mountain by artist Estelle Ishigo, a white woman married to a Nisei.

After a brief prologue and introduction that introduces the author and her husband, Arthur Ishigo, Lone Heart Mountain tells the story of their exile from Los Angeles to Heart Mountain and their return after the war, in nine roughly chronological sections. The story begins with their roundup in Los Angeles and journey to the Pomona Assembly Center and covers life at Heart Mountain: the harsh weather, primitive living conditions, lack of privacy, and lines, along with inmate and War Relocation Authority adaptations ranging from talent shows to libraries and an art students group. Ishigo mostly covers life at Heart Mountain in a general manner, not focusing on her specific experience. However one section—that is unillustrated—briefly describes Arthur's difficult upbringing, while the last section is on their postwar return to Los Angeles and the Ishigos' subsequent residence in a government sponsored trailer park. Many of Ishigo's drawings and sketches—more than one per page—are scattered throughout the book, and document many aspects of the forced removal and incarceration at Heart Mountain and in postwar trailer parks. The book is dedicated to Arthur Shigeharu Ishigo, "My late husband with whom I shared my life at Lone Heart Mountain."

Estelle Ishigo (1899–1990), who was of Dutch, English, and French ancestry, accompanied her Nisei husband to Pomona and Heart Mountain and documented the wartime incarceration in dozens of drawings, sketches, and paintings. She kept a low profile after the war and was rediscovered when some of her paintings were used in the 1972 exhibition Months of Waiting, 1942–1945, organized by the California Historical Society. Aided by the Hollywood Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Ishigo's existing manuscript for Lone Heart Mountain was fashioned into a book and published. Amy Uno Ishii, president of the Hollywood Chapter, contributes a brief foreword to the book. In 1989, the Heart Mountain High School Class of 1947 republished the book. Steven Okazaki's Academy Award winning documentary film on Ishigo, Days of Waiting, was also based in part on the book.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

Might also like Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp by Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey; Days of Waiting: The Life and Art of Estelle Ishigo by Steven Okazaki; I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment by Toyo Suyemoto

For More Information

Estelle Ishigo papers, UCLA Library Special Collections. [The online holdings include a draft of the Lone Heart Mountain manuscript as well as reproductions of some of the drawings and paintings found in the book.]

Creef, Elena Tajima. Imaging Japanese America: The Visual Construction of Citizenship, Nation, and the Body. New York: New York University Press, 2004.