Book Talk and Tule Lake Japanese Language Library Introduction!
Prior to Professor Yasuko Takezawa's book talk with Professor Katsuya Hirano and Professor Min Zhou on her coedited open access book, Race and Migration in the Transpacific, Dr. Kim Mc Nelly will very briefly introduce the Tule Lake Japanese Language Library collection. There will also be a display of Tule Lake volumes. Light refreshments will be provided, and there will also be a FREE RAFFLE for five Race and Migration in the Transpacific books signed by Professor Takezawa.
Come see some of the Tule Lake Japanese Language Library Collection volumes on display on the second floor of the Charles E. Young Research Library! There are two exhibit cases, one just outside the East Asian Library and one just inside.
At the reception of the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium (JACSC) annual conference, “Memory & Monument-Making: Repairing our Racial Karma," held at the Japanese American National Museum, Sept 22, 2023.
The Tule Lake Japanese Language Library (Tsūri Rēki Nihongo Toshokan ツーリレーキ日本語圖書館) was conceptualized, created, and administered by wrongfully incarcerated Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants at the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Newell, California (Block 46, Barracks 8) between November 26, 1943 and November 30, 1945 during WWII. It housed roughly 7,000 volumes and at its peak had a circulation of over 17,000 volumes loaned per month and fostered intellectual activity, social engagement, and a quiet space for reflection. The majority of the collection was donated by those who had come to Tule Lake with only what they could carry, with some additional contributions from other incarceration sites. The collection was established and run by a subgroup of the Tsūri Rēki Danjo Seinendan 鶴嶺湖男女青年團 (“Tule Lake Young Men and Women’s Group”). It can be contextualized as a heritage, diaspora, and/or prison collection.
Donated by the Japanese Language School Unified System (Kyodo System, 日本語学園協同システム) in 1999, UCLA has the only known archive of materials from this historic library, currently holding 1,947 volumes. The material culture of these texts can tell us much about the paths the books traveled before their arrival at Tule Lake, logistics of the systems the volunteer librarians developed, innovative wartime preservation methods of well-loved materials, and U.S. governmental monitoring and censorship of Japanese language texts. Many of the volumes also contain the original checkout cards with borrowers’ signatures and barracks addresses; the collection includes 1,205 of these cards.
Please search the catalog with "Tule Lake Japanese Langauge Library" for a list of the books (in progress).
There is an ongoing digitization project to preserve and share the historical traces seen in this collection, including the checkout cards, notes scribbled in the volumes that relate to incarceration, and pre-war Japanese organizational stamps. Currently fifty volumes have been digitized; you can access them in the Material Culture of the Tule Lake Japanese Language Library digital collection.
You can preview what the collection has to offer with the curated digital exhibit below, which includes a sample of collection highlights. This is best viewed in "full screen mode" on a larger screen, a laptop or larger. If there are issues with the exhibit loading, then you can also access it in a different window here.
To view in full-screen, click the button on the bottom right that looks like the the four corners of a picture frame. To progress through the slides, click the arrow buttons found at the top right of the text boxes in the upper left of the exhibit. You can minimize or maximize these text boxes with the "minus" (-) or "plus" (+) signs in their top left. You can also zoom in, out, or otherwise manipulate the image using your cursor or the buttons at the bottom of the image. (Credits to Kim Mc Nelly)