The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration

Item # 153285.

Introduction by Frank Abe and Floyd Cheung. Edited by Frank Abe and Floyd Cheung.

This anthology presents a new vision that recovers and reframes the  literature produced by the people targeted by the actions of President  Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress to deny Americans of Japanese  ancestry any individual hearings or other due process after the Japanese  attack at Pearl Harbor. From nearly seventy selections of fiction,  poetry, essays, memoirs, and letters emerges a shared story of the  struggle to retain personal integrity in the face of increasing  dehumanization – all anchored by the key government documents that  incite the action.

The selections favor the pointed over the  poignant, and the unknown over the familiar, with several new  translations among previously unseen works that have been long  overlooked on the shelf, buried in the archives, or languished unread in  the Japanese language. The writings are presented chronologically so  that readers can trace the continuum of events as the incarcerees  experienced it.  

The contributors span incarcerees, their  children born in or soon after the camps, and their descendants who  reflect on the long-term consequences of mass incarceration for  themselves and the nation. Many of the voices are those of protest. Some  are those of accommodation. All are authentic. Together they form an  epic narrative with a singular vision of America’s past, one with  disturbing resonances with the American present.

Paper: 336 pp.

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