2001 巻 (2000) 33 号 p. 105-119
Only a few ariticles and essays on Isen Kanno have been found since his death. They are Eitaro Ishigaki, “Forty-year Vagabond Life in America” (1952), Dengo Matsubara, “Baron Kanno” (1954), Shinsui Kawai, “Isen and Gertrude Kanno” (1955), Tamotsu Mirayama, “An Issei Poet Who Composed English” (1961), Ippei Nomoto, “A Vanished Star” (1973) and Ayako Ishigaki, “A Love Artist Who Crossed the Ocean” (1988). Almost all of them have no reference to Kanno's life, from his birth to death and his literary achievements.
In my first essay on Isen Kanno, published in 1994, his life from birth to the days he lived in Joaquin Miller's heights were made clear. In this second essay, the latter half of his life will be revealed.
In 1915 Kanno went to New York and stayed in Edwin Markham's residence. He tried to translate Markham's works into Japanese and write biography of Jack London. Reading a lot of books every day in N. Y. Public Library, he then began translating Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat into Japanese using a style of Japanese popular folk song sung in Edo Era. But to his disappointment he could not publish them. He also wrote many articles for Japanese newspaper joining the Japanese immigrants' literary group.
In 1929 he and his wife, who left him and went to New York with her lover 14 years ago, finally came back to him. Kanno was very glad to be with his wife again. He went back to San Francisco with her and lived in Nichiren Church in Japan Town.
Then Mr. and Mrs. Kanno went to Japan. He expected to get his works published there. His wife, sculptress, had exhibitions at some department stores in Tokyo. At that time militarism seized Japan and displaying nude statues was prohibited. Kanno made efforts to publish his works in vain. After two years they returned to the U. S.
As soon as they arrived in San Francisco, his wife passed away of a sudden fever on August 14th, 1937. His beloved wife's death threw him into despair. Four months later he died of pneumonia.
His manuscripts of poetry, translation and essays were kept in Nichiren Church. On December 7th, 1941, war broke out between Japan and the U. S. and Japanese Americans were forced to evacuate and sent to concentration camps. All his manuscripts were lost during this period of confusion.
Isen Kanno was a determined man who made up his mind to live in the U. S. all his life, marrying to a caucasian artist and wrote in English. He was different from the most Japanese immigrants whose purpose were making money and returning to Japan as rich persons. But war prevented him from being what he expected to be.