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Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: Scott p (
Date: October 26, 2004 09:22PM

I need to find some professional poetry written on World War II and Japanese-Americans of the time. I know its kind of specific, but if anyone knows anything of the sort, it would be of great help to me. Thanx much

Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: lg (
Date: October 26, 2004 10:43PM

Here you go Scott:

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Post Edited (10-26-04 22:16)

Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: lg (
Date: October 26, 2004 10:59PM

There are many poems by Japanese Americans, most are still under copyright.
Browse the list of books above at your local college library to find poems from the internment era.

For a Daughter Who Leaves

A woman weaves
her daughter's wedding
slippers that will carry
her steps into a new life.
The mother weeps alone
into her jeweled sewing box
slips red thread
around its spool,
the same she used to stitch
her daughter's first silk jacket
embroidered with turtles
that would bring luck, long life.
She remembers all the steps
taken by her daughter's
unbound quick feet:
dancing on the stones
of the yard among yellow
butterflies and white breasted sparrows.
And she grew, legs strong
body long, mind
Now she captures all eyes
with her hair combed smooth
and her hips gently
swaying like bamboo.
The woman
spins her thread
from the spool of her heart,
knotted to her daughter's
wedding slippers.

Janice Mirikitani

Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: October 27, 2004 05:22AM

'For a daughter who leaves'would have been a good suggestions for that lady who was recently looking for daughter poems for a birthday album - if only I could find the thread, again.

Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: Ashley Beggs (65.216.40.---)
Date: December 14, 2004 11:34AM

i really do need to find some Japanese American poems concerning internment camps but with these i have to have documentation that thjey are published and copyright dates. do y'all know of any? it is for competition pieces.

Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: lg (
Date: December 14, 2004 12:39PM

Ashley, contact these people.

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Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: rt sak (209.189.33.---)
Date: April 08, 2005 06:15PM

There s a poem called "That Damned Fence" that was written by a person who was interned. If you can't find t E-mail me and i'll send a copy of it.

Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: lg (
Date: April 08, 2005 07:54PM

rt, it's included in the first link I posted above:

They've sunk in posts deep into the ground,
They've strung wires all the way around.
With machine gun nests just over there,
And sentries and soldiers everywhere!

We're trapped like rats in a wired cage
To fret and fume with impotent rage;
Yonder whispers the lure of night
But that DAMNED FENCE assails our sight.

We seek the softness of the midnight air,
But that DAMNED FENCE in the floodlight glare
Awakens unrest in our nocturnal quest,
And mockingly laughs with vicious jest.

With nowhere to go and nothing to do,
We feel terrible, lonesome, and blue;
That DAMNED FENCE is driving us crazy,
Destroying our youth and making us lazy.

Imprisoned in here for a long, long time,
We know we're punished though we've committed no crime
Our thoughts are gloomy and enthusiasm damp,
To be locked up in a concentration camp.

Loyalty we know and patriotism we feel,
To sacrifice our utmost was our ideal.
To fight for our country, and die, mayhap;
Yet we're here because we happen to be a Jap.

We all love life, and our country best,
Our misfortune's to be here in the west;
To keep us penned behind that DAMNED FENCE
Is someone's notion of National Defense!!!


Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: April 09, 2005 11:16AM

Perhaps the author was forcibly interned for rhyming fence with defense? winking smiley

Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: lg (
Date: April 09, 2005 12:55PM

Well, Hugh, those were HARD times for decent rhymes.


Re: Japanese-American poetry 1940's
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: April 09, 2005 06:37PM

They locked up Mr Sulu, you know

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