Tomiko Matsumoto

Tomiko Matsumoto was was born on August 30, 1900 in Nakano, Chiba Prefecture and immigrated to Seattle in the early 1920s. She and her family were imprisoned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming from 1943 to 1945. There, under the poet Shasui Takayanagi, poetry editor of the Kashu Mainichi (California Daily) newspaper, she began studying tanka poetry. In 1955 one of Tomiko’s poems was selected to be read at the utakai hajime, the Emperor’s annual poetry party. Tomiko joined the Uta to Kansho poetry society in 1958, and in 1960 she and her husband Gennosuke published the tanka anthology Mishigan Kohan (By the Shore of Lake Michigan). Her granddaughter, Nancy Matsumoto, has edited the forthcoming English-language translation of the book. She passed away in 2005.

Updated October 2018

culture en ja

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Longing

This month, we feature poetry in Nihongo (with English translation) from Tomiko Matsumoto and Gennosuke Matsumoto, who were both originally from Chiba and eventually married there, before living in Seattle and later imprisoned in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming concentration camp during World War II. Their poetry here comes through that lens—two short tales of lamentation.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Tomiko Matsumoto was was born on August 30, 1900 in Nakano (current Kimitsu city), Chiba Prefecture, and immigrated to Seattle in the early 1920s. She and her family were imprisoned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming from 1943 to 1945. There, under the poet ...

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