Ina was born in San Francisco, Calif., on June 10, 1914.
His father was an immigrant who worked for the local Japanese
newspaper and his mother came to America as a picture bride.
At age 5 Itaru accompanied his mother and sickly sister
to Japan and received schooling there. He returned to America
to rejoin his father when he was 16 years old. Itaru began
studying and writing haiku during his teen years. In 1939
he met Shizuko Mitsui, also an American citizen, who was
working at the Japanese pavilion on Treasure Island in San
Francisco during the 193940 World Trade Exposition.
They were married in March 1941. Pearl Harbor was bombed
in December 1941, and by March 1942 they both were incarcerated
at the Tanforan Assembly Center near San Francisco. Shizuko
was pregnant at the time and suffered a great deal while
confined to life in a horse stable. Itaru was desolate witnessing
his wifes suffering. and by the time they were transferred
to Topaz, Utah (September 1942September 1943), he
vowed to make a better life for his family by disavowing
his loyalty to America and requesting repatriation to Japan.
Now an enemy alien, he and his wife and newborn
son were transferred to Tule Lake Camp, a segregated prison
for those who were identified as disloyal. On June 30, 1945,
shortly after the birth of their second child, Itaru was
arrested at Tule Lake. Three days later he was sent to a
Department of Justice internment camp at Fort Lincoln in
Bismarck, North Dakota, where he was held until March 1946.
Eventually it was determined that renunciation of citizenship
under the duress of imprisonment was unconstitutional, and
Itaru and his family were reunited at the Crystal City,
Texas, family internment camp. They were finally released
on July 9, 1946.
the war the Ina family lived with relatives in Cincinnati,
Ohio, where their third child was born. They returned home
to San Francisco in 1950. During Itarus camp life,
he was an active member of camp haiku clubs and had several
poems published in camp haiku journals. He served as the
leader of the San Francisco Yukari Haiku Kai until his death
on October 31, 1977.
Tessaku (Iron Gate) was a publication of the
haiku group that met weekly at Tule Lake. There were a total
of 158 weekly meetings.
6: New Years Special (1945)
jimuhajime yosooi kuroku taipisuto
workday of the year
is dressed in black.
ni itoma ari
geese fly away
the tower guards
are on a break.
#1 (July 1September 30, 1945)
1, 1945. Sunday. Sunny, hot. Packing. Farewell. Imprisonment.
hanare-yuku ware tomo shirazu hiyake no ko
but the sun-tanned child
suzushi tesso suke-te sanga ari
through the windows iron bars
mountains and rivers.
hi ya yô o tsuku-tte
I make up an errand and
call the guard.
2, Monday. Sunny, hot.
itotonbo haya umareshi-ka goku no mado
at the prison window.
3, Tuesday. Leaving Tule Lake at 5:00 a.m. Train leaves
Klamath Falls at 8:30 a.m. A trip to Bismarck; 9:30 a.m.
Chiloquin; 10:40 a.m. Chemult; 2:15 p.m. Eugene; 3:35 Albany;
4:30 Salem; 6:20 Portland; 8:30 state of Washington.
no tsuki hanare-nu basu
ni natsu no tabi
following a bus
4, Wednesday. Fair. The second day in the train.
ya jyukai ni shizumu karasu
A crow sinks
into the sea of trees.
no me yurumu shasô
ni tsuki suzushi
softens at the train window
5, Thursday. Fair. The third day in the train. Tombstones
on the hill. A statue on the green hill. Summer thunderclouds
on the horizon. Fields of mustard green flowers. Nothing
but mountains and clouds. A circus village.
entenka umi ni wa tôki kuni
the blazing sun,
I have come to a country
far from the sea.
9, Monday. Fair. Solar eclipse.
no kuraki hikari mochi
willow seed-heads drift
in the gloomy light.
12, Thursday. Fair. A robins song. Acacia blossoms.
naki dakota no natsu no
the Dakota summer
is past its prime.
16, Monday. Fair. Hot. Morning glow at the airport. Mooing
cattle. Pressure of the sun.
umare doku-jin ôki
te o nobe-nu
dragonfly is born
The German extends
his large hands.
20, Friday. Thick fog in the morning, fair and sunny in
the afternoon. Blood test. Alien registration started. Firefly.
An outdoor lamp and a frog.
mishi takaburi same-zu
saw a firefly!
26, Thursday. Lousy weather. Received rationed clothes.
Went to a record concert by Germans. Excitement of listening
no ryûjo ga hikari
the dusk of the evening
pull the light along.
6, Monday. Sunny and cloudy, cool.
ka ogore-ru kuni ni noroi are
the scorching sun
on and on I curse
the arrogant country.
8, Wednesday. Fair. Strong wind. Watched a movie Love
of Edgar Alan Poe. Saw two snakes.
no naki kuni ni sumai-te
live in a country
where the roses are red.
11, Saturday. Fair, fog in the morning. Watched a movie: The Major & The Minor. Swing Shot with the
no semi naruran hitotsu
be yesterdays cicadas
one has started
12, Sunday. Fair. Hot. The news of a peace talk. Ate cold
ni mizûri-gawa wa
leaves alongside it,
the Missouri River is deep,
on its own.
13, Monday. Rain on and off. A snake was about to swallow
a frog, which we saved.
shisho no koe o hisome-te
of the joy of autumn.
14, Tuesday. Fair. Heard the siren of cease-fire.
aware karikusa no hi ni
out of the fire
onto the mowed grass
15, Wednesday. Fair. Saw a movie A-Haunting We Will
kakitsubata shiroshi yamai wa ie-gataku
their white disease
is hard to cure.
17, Friday. Fair. Hot and stuffy. Carpentry. My turn for
entenka tobaku ni shire-te nachisu-jin
the scorching sun,
the Nazis lose themselves
21, Tuesday. Cold in the morning. Fair. Carpentry (tank).
Movie, Lloyds of London.
ni nureshi batta ni asa
no hikari miteru
a grasshopper is suffused
with morning light.
23, Thursday. Fair. Cold in the morning. Did carpentry.
Record concert: Beethovens Symphony #9.
tsutsu kaeru mabataku hebi no kuchi
a frog blinks
in a snakes mouth.
25, Saturday. Fair, cold in the morning. Windy. Movie: Castle
in the Desert.
hitotsu ugoku nomi nari
29, Wednesday. Fair, hot. Alien Return Home Registration
began. Movie No Time For Love. Received a letter
suzushi akashi nokoreru
the glow of the searchlight
31, Friday. Fair, hot.
ni hi o amu toki ikusa
I was sunbathing
in the broiling weather,
the war ended.
1, Saturday. Fair, hot. Movie: The Iron Major.
yo no tôka ni nuku-mu
of the long night,
the ink bottle warms.
4, Tuesday. Fair, hot. About a hundred and eighty repatriated
ni te o fure aki no wakare
we touch hands
7, Friday. Rain, a little cold. Registration for those who
want to cancel returning to their country.
8, Saturday. Fair, warm. From today on, the administrative
office will be closed on Saturday. Movie: Rainbow
on the River.
9, Sunday. Windy and cold. Cloudy. Went to see the same
movie as yesterday. Built the trunk.(to be continued in
Modern Haiku 34.3)
note: We would like to thank the Ina family for allowing
us to publish these haiku and Leza Lowitz for making us
aware of their existence. Deep gratitude also to Satsuki
Ina for providing the biographical information about her
father. This selection is excerpted from From a Silk
Cocoon, a selection of letters, diary entries, and haiku
by Itaru Ina. Individuals interested in being notified of
the publication of this book can be added to a list by contacting
Satsuki Ina at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.