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    "url_title": "Literature in camp",
    "title_sort": "literatureincamp",
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    "modified": "2020-08-24T14:35:40",
    "title": "Literature in camp",
    "body": "<div class=\"mw-parser-output\">\n <div class=\"floatright\">\n </div>\n <div class=\"floatright\">\n </div>\n <p>\n  Within the confines of\n  <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/War_Relocation_Authority/\" title=\"War Relocation Authority\">\n   War Relocation Authority\n  </a>\n  (WRA) and Department of Justice camps, Japanese Americans wrote and published poems, short stories, and essays in both Japanese and English. In one case, while incarcerated in the Tule Lake concentration camp a\n  <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Nisei/\" title=\"Nisei\">\n   Nisei\n  </a>\n  wrote a novel about life behind barbed wire, but it was not published until decades later.\n </p>\n <div aria-labelledby=\"mw-toc-heading\" class=\"toc\" id=\"toc\" role=\"navigation\">\n  <input class=\"toctogglecheckbox\" id=\"toctogglecheckbox\" role=\"button\" style=\"display:none\" type=\"checkbox\"/>\n  <div class=\"toctitle\" dir=\"ltr\" lang=\"en\">\n   <h2 id=\"mw-toc-heading\">\n    Contents\n   </h2>\n   <span class=\"toctogglespan\">\n    <label class=\"toctogglelabel\" for=\"toctogglecheckbox\">\n    </label>\n   </span>\n  </div>\n  <ul>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-1\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Publications_in_English\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      1\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Publications in English\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-2\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Writing_in_Japanese\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      2\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Writing in Japanese\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-3\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Sole_Novel_Written_in_a_Camp\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      3\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Sole Novel Written in a Camp\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-4\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#For_More_Information\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      4\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      For More Information\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n  </ul>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Publications_in_English\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Publications_in_English\">\n    Publications in English\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    Each WRA camp published an English-language\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Newspapers_in_camp/\" title=\"Newspapers in camp\">\n     newspaper\n    </a>\n    , and some of those publications occasionally included poems or stories. The murder mystery \"Death Rides the Rails to Poston\" by well-respected Nisei writer\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Hisaye_Yamamoto/\" title=\"Hisaye Yamamoto\">\n     Hisaye Yamamoto\n    </a>\n    was serialized in the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Poston_Chronicle_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Poston Chronicle (newspaper)\">\n     <i>\n      Poston Chronicle\n     </i>\n    </a>\n    and is a highlight of these rare creative works in camp newspapers.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Channeling the talents of many writers who were involved in prewar Nisei literary circles, three camps published English-language magazines which included creative writing:\n    <i>\n     The Pen\n    </i>\n    (\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Rohwer/\" title=\"Rohwer\">\n     Rohwer\n    </a>\n    ),\n    <i>\n     Tulean Dispatch Magazine\n    </i>\n    (Tule Lake), and\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    (\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Topaz/\" title=\"Topaz\">\n     Topaz\n    </a>\n    ).\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    A single issue of\n    <i>\n     The Pen\n    </i>\n    was published in November 1943 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Rohwer concentration camp. The magazine includes sections on camp administration and highlights of camp events in the preceding year. The literary section features stories, poems, and essays written by Rohwer prisoners, as well as by white staff members and prisoners of other camps. Given that camp publications were censored, it is surprising that several pieces in\n    <i>\n     The Pen\n    </i>\n    candidly bring up racism and frustration over incarceration. But the censors might have spared them because they end with affirmations of loyalty and a willingness to fight for American ideals of equality.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    With George Jobo Nakamura as editor, eleven issues of\n    <i>\n     Tulean Dispatch Magazine\n    </i>\n    were published between August 1942 and July 1943. Each issue includes short stories, poems, and articles on camp life. Reading\n    <i>\n     Tulean Dispatch Magazine\n    </i>\n    , one might never know that Tule Lake was a site of controversy regarding the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Loyalty_questionnaire/\" title=\"Loyalty questionnaire\">\n     loyalty questionnaire\n    </a>\n    . Much of the writing in the magazine explicitly or implicitly exhorts prisoners not to be bitter about their incarceration. Because the magazine was an official WRA publication, its contents unsurprisingly are largely uncritical of the camp administration and the incarceration program. But a handful of pieces allude to tensions. \"Question 28,\" by Shuji Kimura, for example, in the April 1943 issue, directly refers to one of the controversial \"loyalty questions\" and is unusual in its overtly critical viewpoint.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    In contrast to\n    <i>\n     The Pen\n    </i>\n    , and\n    <i>\n     Tulean Dispatch Magazine\n    </i>\n    ,\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    , published in Topaz, offers a broader array of talents and more complex perspectives. Originally edited by Jim Yamada, a budding writer and UC Berkeley student, and artist\n    <a class=\"mw-redirect encyc notrg\" href=\"/Mine_Okubo/\" title=\"Mine Okubo\">\n     Miné Okubo\n    </a>\n    ,\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    was published three times between December 1942 and June 1943. A fourth and final issue of the camp magazine, entitled\n    <i>\n     All Aboard\n    </i>\n    , was published in Spring 1944 and edited by\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Toshio_Mori/\" title=\"Toshio Mori\">\n     Toshio Mori\n    </a>\n    , a Bay Area writer who by World War II had gained some national notoriety. Each issue of\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    opens with a lead article (on camp life or resettlement), followed by stories, poems, essays, articles on the geography and history of the Topaz region, and a women's column. The writing in\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    is more polished and sophisticated than in the other camp magazines, as evidenced by two sensitive short stories by Jim Yamada which appeared respectively in the February 1943 and June 1943 issues and are linked by the same protagonist, a Nisei student at the University of California.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    reflects tensions between \"optimistic\" and \"critical\" perspectives. \"Optimistic\" writing is characterized by admonitions to have faith in American democracy. The leading writer of this group is Toshio Mori. In \"Topaz, Station,\" for example, a sketch Mori wrote for the first issue of\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    , the narrator comments that Topaz is \"a stopping-off place on the way to progress as good Americans for a better America.\" Here Mori echoes the motto of the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Japanese_American_Citizens_League/\" title=\"Japanese American Citizens League\">\n     Japanese American Citizens League\n    </a>\n    (JACL): \"Better Americans in a Greater America.\" His allusion is not only an optimistic statement but also a political one, given the complex and hostile feelings many Japanese Americans developed about the JACL because of its accommodationist policies.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Because government authorities censored camp publications, writers had to mask their criticisms. \"Yule Greetings, Friends\" by Jim Oki (using the pseudonym \"Globularius Schraubi\") is an example of \"critical writing\" and appeared in the inaugural issue of\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    . A mock scholarly analysis of \"evacuese,\" the mixture of Japanese and English spoken by Issei and\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Kibei/\" title=\"Kibei\">\n     Kibei\n    </a>\n    , the piece hints at intra-camp tensions. Through puns and references to dogs, Oki makes veiled allusions to accusations that some Japanese Americans informed on fellow prisoners to camp administrators. Such individuals were called \"\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Informants_/_%22inu%22/\" title='Informants / \"inu\"'>\n     inu\n    </a>\n    ,\" the Japanese word for \"dog.\"\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Even more subtle, the finely crafted poems of\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Toyo_Suyemoto/\" title=\"Toyo Suyemoto\">\n     Toyo Suyemoto\n    </a>\n    which appeared in each issue of\n    <i>\n     Trek\n    </i>\n    and in\n    <i>\n     All Aboard\n    </i>\n    offer what literary scholar Susan Schweik calls examples of \"resistance and critique embedded within the forms and diction of poems which appear apolitical.\" \"Gain\" is an example:\n   </p>\n   <blockquote>\n    <p>\n     I sought to seed the barren earth\n     <br/>\n     And make wild beauty take\n     <br/>\n     Firm root, but how could I have known\n     <br/>\n     The waiting long would shake\n     <br/>\n     <br/>\n     Me inwardly, until I dared\n     <br/>\n     Not say what would be gain\n     <br/>\n     From such untimely planting, or\n     <br/>\n     What flower worth the pain?\n    </p>\n   </blockquote>\n   <p>\n    Given the context in which the poem appeared, Suyemoto's nature imagery takes on metaphorical significance. The \"barren earth,\" for example, can refer not only to the desert of Topaz but also what an imprisoned Nisei might consider the desert of America.\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Writing_in_Japanese\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Writing_in_Japanese\">\n    Writing in Japanese\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    <i>\n     May Sky: There is Always Tomorrow, An Anthology of Japanese American Concentration Camp Haiku\n    </i>\n    is a collection of 300 haiku written in WRA and Department of Justice camps by members of two prewar California haiku clubs: Delta Ginsha Haiku Kai in Stockton and Valley Ginsha Haiku Kai in Fresno.\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Violet_Kazue_de_Cristoforo/\" title=\"Violet Kazue de Cristoforo\">\n     Violet Kazue de Cristoforo\n    </a>\n    (nee Kazue Yamane), a member of the Valley Ginsha, compiled and translated the poems into English.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Delta Ginsha poets were incarcerated in the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Stockton_(detention_facility)/\" title=\"Stockton (detention facility)\">\n     Stockton Assembly Center\n    </a>\n    and then at the Rohwer concentration camp. In both places, they continued to write and to meet to discuss their work. During the war, Kyotaro Komuro, leader of the Delta Ginsha writers, compiled two volumes of their haiku: one consisting of 525 poems written at the Stockton Assembly Center, and the second a collection of 1,000 haiku written at Rohwer. Both volumes were published by the\n    <i>\n     Rohwa Jiho Sha\n    </i>\n    , the newspaper at Rohwer.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Valley Ginsha members were incarcerated at the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Fresno_(detention_facility)/\" title=\"Fresno (detention facility)\">\n     Fresno Assembly Center\n    </a>\n    and then at the Jerome concentration camp, where they formed the Denson Valley Ginsha, named after a nearby town. Some of their poems were published in the\n    <i>\n     Utah Nippo\n    </i>\n    , the Japanese language newspaper of Salt Lake City.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Many members of the Denson Valley Ginsha were transferred to Tule Lake after it was designated the camp for individuals who answered the loyalty questions negatively. Along with poets from other camps, they formed the Tule Lake Valley Ginsha.\n    <i>\n     May Sky\n    </i>\n    includes some their haiku, which de Cristoforo describes as \"plaintive and, at times, defiant.\"\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    In 1987, de Cristoforo self-published the book\n    <i>\n     Poetic Reflections of the Tule Lake Internment Camp 1944\n    </i>\n    , a collection of poems she wrote while incarcerated at Tule Lake.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Despite an explicit WRA policy of \"Americanization\" for\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Issei/\" title=\"Issei\">\n     Issei\n    </a>\n    and Kibei, administrators at several camps allowed the publication of self-financed literary magazines in Japanese. At Gila, the Kibei-dominated Gila Young People's Association published three issues of a literary magazine called\n    <i>\n     Wakoudo\n    </i>\n    between May and August 1943. After members of that group were transferred to Tule Lake, they published seven issues of\n    <i>\n     Dotō\n    </i>\n    (July 1944-June 1945), which feature stories, essays and poems by Kibei and Nisei. Also at Tule Lake, between March 1944 and July 1945, a group of young writers in collaboration with Issei poet Bunichi Kagawa produced nine issues of the peer-reviewed literary magazine\n    <i>\n     Tessaku\n    </i>\n    (Iron Fence), which includes fiction, essays, social criticism, and poetry. Similar Japanese-language magazines were produced in Heart Mountain (\n    <i>\n     Hāto Maunten Bungei\n    </i>\n    , 6 issues between December 1943 and September 1944) and Poston (P\n    <i>\n     osuton Bungei\n    </i>\n    , 25 issues edited by Keizan Yagata between February 1943 and September 1945).\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Jiro and Kay Nakano translated into English and edited tanka (a Japanese poetic form) written by four Issei from Hawai'i who were imprisoned in military and Department of Justice internment camps. Their book\n    <i>\n     Poets Behind Barbed Wire: Keiho Soga, Taisanboku Mori, Sojin Takei, Muin Ozaki\n    </i>\n    , records the writers' impressions of being arrested, their observations of camp life, the ironies of war, and their thoughts of freedom. Poet\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Yasutaro_Soga/\" title=\"Yasutaro Soga\">\n     Keiho Soga\n    </a>\n    , owner of the\n    <i>\n     <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Nippu_Jiji_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Nippu Jiji (newspaper)\">\n      Nippu Jiji\n     </a>\n    </i>\n    in Honolulu, founded the Santa Fe-shisha Tanka Club while interned at the Department of Justice camp there. Taisanboku Mori and his wife Ishiko, while interned at the Department of Justice camp in\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Crystal_City_(detention_facility)/\" title=\"Crystal City (detention facility)\">\n     Crystal City\n    </a>\n    , founded, along with Sojin Takei, the Texas-shisha tanka club.\n    <i>\n     Nagareboshi\n    </i>\n    (\"Shooting Star\") is a collection of 334 tanka written by club members which was published in October 1945. After his return to Hawai'i, Takei published in 1946 a collection of his own wartime poems,\n    <i>\n     Areno\n    </i>\n    (\"Wilderness\").\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Sole_Novel_Written_in_a_Camp\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Sole_Novel_Written_in_a_Camp\">\n    Sole Novel Written in a Camp\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    <i>\n     Treadmill\n    </i>\n    by Hiroshi Nakamura is the only novel about Japanese American wartime incarceration written during World War II in one of the camps. Born in Gilroy, California, in 1915, Nakamura graduated from UC Berkeley in 1937. He was an English editor for a large Tokyo newspaper and worked in Manchuria before returning to the U.S. Like the characters in his novel, he was incarcerated in the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Salinas_(detention_facility)/\" title=\"Salinas (detention facility)\">\n     Salinas Assembly Center\n    </a>\n    ,\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Poston_(Colorado_River)/\" title=\"Poston (Colorado River)\">\n     Poston\n    </a>\n    , and Tule Lake, where he completed\n    <i>\n     Treadmill\n    </i>\n    while also working in the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Community_analysts/\" title=\"Community analysts\">\n     Community Analysis Section\n    </a>\n    .\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    In 1974, two years after Nakamura's death, Professor Peter Suzuki discovered the manuscript for\n    <i>\n     Treadmill\n    </i>\n    in the National Archives and shepherded it to publication.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    The novel centers on 20-year-old Teru Noguchi of Salinas and her family as they are forced to move from their home to various camps. The book depicts rumor mongering and resentment towards self-appointed community leaders (specifically the JACL), the breakdown of family structure in camp, and the complex reasons why individuals would answer \"no\" or \"yes\" to the loyalty questions. The book could benefit from editing. But it is nevertheless a vivid portrait of camp life.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Although\n    <i>\n     Treadmill\n    </i>\n    claims the distinction of being the only published novel that was written in a Japanese American concentration camp, numerous authors since World War II—Japanese Americans and non-\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Nikkei/\" title=\"Nikkei\">\n     Nikkei\n    </a>\n    —have focused their literary imaginations on the incarceration of Japanese Americans to produce novels, memoirs, short stories, poems and plays.\n   </p>\n   <div id=\"authorByline\">\n    <b>\n     Authored by\n     <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Stan_Yogi/\" title=\"Stan Yogi\">\n      Stan Yogi\n     </a>\n     , Writer, Oakland, California\n    </b>\n   </div>\n   <div id=\"citationAuthor\" style=\"display:none;\">\n    Yogi, Stan\n   </div>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"For_More_Information\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"For_More_Information\">\n    For More Information\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    de Cristoforo, Violet. ed.\n    <i>\n     May Sky: There is Always Tomorrow, An Anthology of Japanese American Concentration Camp Haiku\n    </i>\n    . Los Angeles: Sun and Moon Press, 1997.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    ———.\n    <i>\n     Poetic Reflections of the Tule Lake Internment Camp 1944\n    </i>\n    . Self-published, 1987.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Honda, Gail, ed.\n    <a class=\"external text offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n     <i>\n      Family Torn Apart: The Internment Story of the Otokichi Muin Ozaki Family\n     </i>\n    </a>\n    . Honolulu: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2012.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Kobayashi, Junko. \"Bitter Sweet Home: Celebration of Biculturalism in Japanese Language Japanese American Literature, 1936-1952.\" Diss. University of Iowa, 2005.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Nakamura, Hiroshi.\n    <i>\n     Treadmill\n    </i>\n    . Oakville, ON: Mosaic Press, 1996.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Nakano, Jiro, and Kay Nakano, eds.\n    <a class=\"external text offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n     <i>\n      Poets Behind Barbed Wire: Keiho Soga, Taisanboku Mori, Sojin Takei, Muin Ozaki\n     </i>\n     .\n    </a>\n    Honolulu: Bamboo Ridge Press, 1983.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Opler, Marvin K. and F. Obayashi. \"Senryu Poetry as Folk and Community Expression.\"\n    <i>\n     Journal of American Folklore\n    </i>\n    58:227 (January–March 1945): 1–11.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Schweik, Susan.\n    <i>\n     A Gulf So Deeply Cut: American Women Poets and the Second World War\n    </i>\n    . Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991. [Part Three of this book focuses on Nisei women writers, particularly Toyo Suyemoto.]\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Soga, Yasutaro (Keiho).\n    <a class=\"external text offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n     <i>\n      Life Behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawai'i Issei\n     </i>\n     .\n    </a>\n    Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2008.\n   </p>\n   <!-- \nNewPP limit report\nCached time: 20230521153529\nCache expiry: 86400\nDynamic content: false\nComplications: []\nCPU time usage: 0.013 seconds\nReal time usage: 0.017 seconds\nPreprocessor visited node count: 59/1000000\nPost‐expand include size: 403/2097152 bytes\nTemplate argument size: 94/2097152 bytes\nHighest expansion depth: 4/40\nExpensive parser function count: 0/100\nUnstrip recursion depth: 0/20\nUnstrip post‐expand size: 0/5000000 bytes\nExtLoops count: 0\n-->\n   <!--\nTransclusion expansion time report (%,ms,calls,template)\n100.00%    2.723      1 -total\n 49.13%    1.338      1 Template:Published\n 48.36%    1.317      1 Template:AuthorByline\n-->\n   <!-- Saved in parser cache with key encycmw:pcache:idhash:197-0!canonical and timestamp 20230521153529 and revision id 30890\n -->\n  </div>\n </div>\n</div>\n<div class=\"toplink\">\n <a href=\"#top\">\n  <i class=\"icon-chevron-up\">\n  </i>\n  Top\n </a>\n</div>",
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