Lot 288 of 364:
1st 20th century Japanese-American poetry in English  

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$300 - $500

3 Publications of Japanese-American Poetry in English

Kagawa, Bunichi and Kimi Gengo

Various places

Various publishers


  • Kagawa, Bunichi. Hidden Flame. (Half Moon Press, Stanford, California, 1930) 36pp. Frontispiece and title page decoration. (8vo) , original wrappers. No. 26 of 200 numbered copies. Spine soiled.
  • Kagawa, Bunichi. "Cold Dawn / Hollow Summer” in Roon, A Chapbook of Modern Verse, Vol. II, No. 2  (Half Moon Press, Stanford, 1930)  34pp. (8vo), original orange wrappers, printed label, printed on hand-made paper.  Upper covers sunned; ink mark on cover.
  • Gengo, Kimi. To One Who Mourns at the Death of The Emperor. (Pilgrim House, NY, 1934)  60pp. Frontispiece sketch of the author. (12mo), original brown cloth spine over brown boards, printed spine label in dust jacket. with large chips and closed tear, inexpertly repaired with transparent tape. 

The first modern English-language poetry by Japanese-Americans after Isamu Noguchi.

Kagawa was an immigrant to California, mentored by Stanford Professor Yvor Winters, who arranged for publication of his poetry through a Stanford private press. Kimi Gengo, a Nisei, was born in Hawaii, daughter of a Japanese immigrant schoolteacher. She moved with her family to California, then to Ithaca, New York, where, attending Cornell University, she met polymath Philip Freund, editor of the Cornell Literary Magazine, and Philosophy graduate student Bunji Tagawa. After graduation, she married Tagawa, who went on to become a noted book illustrator (1935-38 listing), and published her own book through Freund, who started the small publisher, Pilgrim House. During World War II, Kagawa was interned at Tule Lake where he helped published a literary magazine. Gingo and her artist husband, living in New York, escaped internment.

Gengo’s book has the owner’s name on flyleaf of Jane E. Bellinger, then an Oregon college student who later received an MA in Asian history from Columbia and visited Japan in 1936 on an international student tour. During World War II, working for the Army Map Service in Washington to translate captured Japanese maps, her “association” with Japanese-Americans “aroused the suspicions of her boss, but she refused to disown her friends, and an investigation by the FBI cleared her name.”

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Very good.

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