The discovery of a small metal box leads to the uncovering of a family story, shrouded in silence for more than 60 years. Woven through their censored letters, diary entries, and haiku poetry, is the story of a young Japanese American couple whose dreams are shattered when, months after their wedding, they find themselves held captive, first in race track horse stables and later, in tar paper barracks.
It is the story of Ina's own parents, Shizuko and Itaru, who find themselves abandoned by America, the country of their birth, as they endured four years of life behind barbed wires in American concentration camps during WWII. Itaru's haiku poetry is woven subtly through the film, producing the effect of a cinematic haibun.
Before the screening, Ina will share and read the haiku poetry of her father, who wrote some of his most sublime and evocative haiku during and about his WWII camp experience. Ina will talk about the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during the war and the poetry that was written from behind barbed wire.
A number of Itaru Ina’s poems have been translated by Hisako Ifshin and Leza Lowitz in Modern Haiku, including
kanshi no me yurumu shasô ni tsuki suzushi
The guard’s gaze
softens at the train window--
(Ifshin & Lowitz, tr. Modern Haiku 34.2 2003)
Wata no hana okata wata ni natsu fukaki
have almost grown into cotton--
(Ifshin & Lowitz, tr. Modern Haiku 34.3 2003)