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Heart Mountain releases English translations of a literary magazine written by the incarcerated

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center released English translations of a literary magazine written by the incarcerated.

Among the some 14,000 Japanese Americans that were incarcerated in Wyoming during World War II were a lot of people from the artistic and literary scene in Los Angeles.

That community came together and started producing art, poetry and essays, but all in Japanese. TheJapanese-language magazine was called Bungei, which roughly translates to “arts and literature.” Cally Steussy, Director of Interpretation and Preservation at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, said most contributions came from the first generation immigrants.

“We usually call them the Issei. And that was particularly valuable to Heart Mountain because within the history of these camps, the voices of that first generation are often missing,” said Steussy.

Steussy said these translations will offer some perspectives from that generation that were not really available otherwise.

“By the time people began actually digging into this history, most of the Issei had passed away. So this was kind of a unique chance to really get in and look at the perspective of that immigrant generation, in their own words and their own voices,” she said.

Steussy said many scholars who study this history do not speak Japanese. So by translating these volumes, they are trying to broaden the accessibility of the content.

The first volume of the Heart Mountain Bungei has been released and translated fully. The center hopes to have all six volumes translated.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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