During the World War II incarceration of west coast Japanese Americans, countless artists found their lives shattered, shunted behind barbed wire. Some of them went on to achieve fame. As a group, they exerted an outsized influence on American art and design, yet rarely spoke of their incarceration experience.
Introducing my latest project, the translation of a book of Japanese poetry, By the Shore of Lake Michigan.
I am working with two multi-talented translators, Mariko Aratani and Kyoko Miyabe. In addition to translating, Kyoko is painter and English literature instructor at the School of Visual Arts. Here is one of her works from 2016.
Frontispiece to the original, 1960 Japanese-language edition of the book, written by my grandparents, Tomiko and Ryokuyo Matsumoto. Their poems detail the period from 1942, when they were imprisoned in the World War II U.S. government prison camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming, through their relocation to Chicago after the war.
Mariko is a Japanese poetry translator, Fordham University Japanese language instructor and once made her living as a jazz pianist. This is her first work of collage, titled "Women's March," inspired by her experience marching in New York City on January 21st.