|Budget Amount *help
¥2,100,000 (Direct Cost: ¥2,100,000)
Fiscal Year 2005: ¥900,000 (Direct Cost: ¥900,000)
Fiscal Year 2004: ¥1,200,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,200,000)
As a minority in the US, Japanese Americans have been encouraged to believe that they have no cultural integrity in terms of what they are, and that they are either Asian or American or are measurably both. This myth of being either/or and the equally goofy concept of a dual personality haunting their lobes while being rejected by both Asia and America proper proved they were neither one nor the other.
Historically Japanese immigrants were regarded as unnaturalizable due to their persistent ethnicity and lack of adaptability coupled with spread of the fear of ‘the yellow peril.' These views led to the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1924, forbidding immigration. This antipathy against Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans was epitomized by the internment camp of World War II, which was impressively depicted and recorded in various art forms, including novels, poetry, paintings and films. Our research aimed at verifying why and how their identity and dignity was lost and recover
ed mainly via internment camp literature. The actual research consisted of preliminary research (collection of materials and interview) and translations of some related literary works produced by Japanese Americans.
Our two visits (February and September, 2005) to the Department of Special Collections, Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles, which has a collection of voluminous documents and files of internment camp, provided us with various kinds of related research materials. To our great regret, however, much of the material in mimeograph printing has been too damaged to get the permission to photocopy them. Many of the internment journals with inmate's literary works (poems, tanka, haiku, essay, short story) are in these fragile materials.
Still, the collected materials, which are really informative and relevant, if miscellaneous, are surely to be among several first small but certain steps toward reconsidering what literature (or rather, human discourse) is, thereby restructuring its whole concept, and finally rededicating ourselves to a future world via critical reading. The collected materials in the final report will be in the near future classified, filed, and analyzed will hopefully give us an opportunity to deepen our understanding of this work as well as spread the number of readers of these genres in the United States.
Also, in the early preliminary stage of this project, the head investigator cooperated with Dr.M.Mori of the Department of Comparative Literature, at the University of Georgia in translating Mitsuye Yamada's Camp Notes and Other Poems (1976) and Desert Run : Poems and Stories (1988).
Now, in the age of postmodernism and post-colonialism, it can be said that there is now no authorized canon in literature. This has meant that the concept of canonical works of literature cannot be exclusively defined. It also means there is no such thing as marginal literature or literary works of minority. Mainstream American literature, if any, exists because of the existence of all works many of which are not in that stream, and vice versa. It has never been more vital to take the meaning of minority into account. Less