Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New George Masa letters found

“Alice: It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

-Alice In Wonderland

The 'mystery' of George Masa just keeps getting more mysterious. Over the past five years or so I've been aware of the possible existence of some letters written in Japanese written by or to George Masa. To make a long story short, some of them were finally found (special thanks to Edie Robinson) and have now been translated by my trusted friend Fusako Krummel. I only wish translation would have made the letters easier to understand. She and I have enjoyed theorizing about the meaning of the letters, none of which are in their complete form. Some of them concern a Japanese friend of Masa's who committed suicide largely due to his poor financial management of a group of immigrants money he was responsible, including Masa's.

The letters speak to Masa's very close association with a number of Japanese friends whom he stayed in frequent communication with, at least for his first few years of being in the U.S.. These letters suggests answers to some of the previously unknown information about Masa, but, in classic Masa fashion, nothing about these letter clear up the mysteries definitively, in fact, they pose more questions than they answer with allusions to Masa's own past, two new names that Masa uses for himself and a story told in one letter that seems to be a method Masa was using to describe his own childhood as he describes the the life of his deceased friend. I'm telling you... its complicated.

I'll leave you with this little sample of poetry, probably written by Masa in one of the letters:

Bathing in the sun and shown by moonlight,
Blown by the Autumn wind, showered by the summer rain,
And the winter mist, the poet sings the wonder of nature,
The history of a billion years, dreaming another spring to come.
Life is short, already half gone.


  1. I don't mean to be a bother, but the photo of the letter appears to be upside down. His cursive is hard to read, but I keep having to flip my laptop over to try to read it! :(

    1. Hey Gee Kitten, i have finally flipped it for you. Thanks for your patience.