[Manuscript Diary Belonging to Shizuko Sumi, a Young Japanese-American Woman, Documenting Her Year in Japan, Hawaii, and California in 1937, Plus Assorted Ephemera]

[Various locations: mainly 1925-1937]. 409pp. diary, plus assorted ephemera. Contemporary blue cloth stamped in blind, custom plain paper dust jacket decorated with various stickers. Minor shelf wear, slightly cocked. Ephemeral items generally in nice condition. Very good. Item #3149

A unique collection of material once belonging to Shizuko Sumi, a Japanese-American woman born in Los Angeles, interned at Heart Mountain, and who passed away in Los Angeles County not long ago. The preponderance of the important material here emanates over the course of about a decade from the mid-1920s to 1937. The most notable item is a manuscript diary written by Sumi over the course of 1937, where she spent most of the year in Kobe, Japan as a student before returning to California via Hawaii. Sumi's diary is mainly comprised of about 400 pages of entries in Japanese. A modest sampling of her Japanese entries reveal numerous mentions of family, such as her aunt living in Manchuria, visits to her house in Japan by another Japanese woman named Mitani who is also returning to the United States via Kobe, a pilgrimage to the temple of Kannon (probably in Kinokawa), a mention of her teacher in Akao, spending Thanksgiving Day aboard ship, and more.

In addition to her Japanese entries, the diary also includes a small number of entries in English, which are brief but nonetheless illuminating. In six pages in the final third of the diary, Sumi writes about leaving Kobe. The entries begin, "Tomorrow I leave!" The next day, she notes she left Kobe at 3 by boat, after waking up at 6 and eating "a Japanese breakfast." While aboard, her entries include an account of seeing Mount Fuji, shopping and visiting in Yokohama, meeting a woman named Miya Sannomiya who was "going on a lecture tour of U.S. with the Japanese-Chinese war as her topic," playing ping pong. watching movies such as The Case of the Black Cat, and more.

In other occasional English lists or notes, Sumi records her measurements ("Bust Waist W-h Hip"), her weight, a list of undergarments and other clothing while traveling, names and addresses of teachers and friends in California (most in the vicinity of Los Angeles), a list of gifts intended for her teachers and friends (Mr. Fossett - Japanese doll"), a list of contemporary books (including Kenneth Roberts' Northwest Passage), an entry for the "Nihon Yuken Club" in Tokyo, a menu and list of dinner guests on Christmas Day, a shopping list, notice of a "Sukiyaki Party" and "Subai program," list of Christmas cards sent and received, a list of activities and places visited in Kobe, and more. In one Japanese-language entry, the words "quarantine doctor" appear in the text in English. At one point, she notes passing the 180-degree meridian, after which she visits Honolulu, Hawaii, again indicating she was traveling from Japan to California. While in Hawaii, one day's entry concerns an "Aloha Dinner Dance." The Christmas Day menu included at the end is decidedly an American menu, further indicating Sumi was back in California at year's end. A 1937 U.S. passenger manifest confirms that Sumi was indeed on a ship from Kobe, Japan to the United States, the M.S. "Chichibu Maru," beginning on November 9, 1937. Her father, Toraichi, also traveled with her.

The ephemeral items include personal papers, a few letters sent to Sumi (including a couple from her time in Japan in 1937), tickets, receipts, one of Sumi's early report cards from 1925 and another from 1930, a 1938 typed letter addressed to "Alumni" from John Marshall High School in L.A., two 1953 issues of a Hawaiian newspaper, a 1974 history of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple, a large folding Japanese-language world map, and a few uncaptioned photographs.

Shizuko Sumi (1918-2016) was born in Los Angeles to Japanese immigrants, Toraichi and Takachiyo Sumi. She was educated in Los Angeles through the completion of high school. Sumi was later interned with the rest of her family at Heart Mountain, where she was noted as married and working professionally as a designer. Sumi apparently spent her entire life in or around Los Angeles County, where she died, in Rancho Palos Verdes, on January 30, 2016.

Price: $6,250.00