Nancy Matsumoto and Kyoko Miyabe

Loss, Longing, and Reconciliation:

Tanka Poetry and Issei Japanese Americans Imprisoned During World War II

Editor Nancy Matsumoto will introduce By the Shore of Lake Michigan, a book of Japanese tanka poems her grandparents, Tomiko and Ryokuyo Matsumoto, published in 1960. The book includes descriptions of the Matsumotos’ imprisonment in the U.S. government prison camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming during World War II, and the immediate post-war years they spent in Chicago. Translator Kyoko Miyabe will read a selection of these poems from the forthcoming English-language edition of their book, and discuss translation aspects of the project. 








sajin abitsutsu

arahara ni

karisumu shibashi

senji sanaka o


In the midst

of swirling dust

I live temporarily

in this barren land

during wartime

Nancy Matsumoto is a New York City–based freelance journalist who writes about Japanese American culture, food, sake, health, and sustainable agriculture. Her website is She is coauthor of the book The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders, blogs at Walking and Talking, and is a contributor to the Densho Encyclopedia of the Japanese American WWII exclusion and incarceration experience.

Kyoko Miyabe holds a PhD in English literature from University of Cambridge, England. She is a painter and faculty member of the Department of Humanities and Sciences at School of Visual Arts, New York. She works as a freelance translator for clients in the United States and Japan.

On her website, Nancy Matsumoto reported the acquisition of these publications at Tanka Sunday 2015.