Internee Art and Writing
In the final edition of Trek, a literary and arts journal published at Topaz camp in Utah, the editors reflected: “The impetus of movement has swept the group, and with this final edition, Trek, as a record of growth in a concentrated atmosphere, an expression of the moods and modes of a transplanted people, must come to an end.” While Trek was compiled by renowned Nisei artists and writers, internees pursued art and writing through more informal modes. In particular, the Issei, previously accustomed to long workdays, frequently countered long stretches of unstructured time by turning to arts and crafts.
The correspondence between utopian socialist Walter Millsap and his interned friends, the Imamuras, documents their sustained efforts to write creative and journalistic pieces on their internment experiences. As Millsap noted in a letter, the Imamuras were able to capture the “spell of the desert” and vividly convey their experiences to outsiders. The Imamura’s 11-year old son, Keichi, enjoyed drawing and his parents often included his original cartoon strips in their letters to Millsap.