William Higuchi holding his daughter's book translated into Japanese

Heart Mountain Publishes Japanese-Language Edition of Setsuko’s Secret

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation has published a Japanese-language edition of Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration by Shirley Ann Higuchi, the chair of the foundation’s board.

The new edition is a joint project of HMWF and a group of Japanese scientists who studied in the United States under Dr. William Higuchi, a former Heart Mountain incarceree and Shirley Ann Higuchi’s father. 

Led by Drs. Kenji Sugibayashi and Masaharu Miyajima, the former students raised the money to pay for the book’s translation into Japanese and its printing by Tokyo-based eCompliance. They financed the project in appreciation for the support and kindness they received from Dr. Higuchi and his late wife, Setsuko, during their studies at the universities of Utah and Michigan.

HMWF bought the Japanese-language rights from the University of Wisconsin Press and supervised the overall project.

Nakahiro Iwata, a reporter and editor with the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, translated the book into Japanese. He was previously the paper’s Washington bureau chief and has visited Heart Mountain. 

Masako Miki of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles coordinated many of the details of the translation and printing, and Noriko Sanefuji of the National Museum of American History added additional quality control.

The foundation is grateful for their hard work and dedication in getting this new edition published.

Copies of the new edition can be purchased via Amazon.co.jp, the eCompliance website and through the bookstore of Josai International University, where Sugibayashi is the former president.

As Higuchi researched the book, she discovered the incarceration’s effect on her parents, which included their generosity to many of the Japanese graduate students who studied under her father. 

“My parents’ hard work and perfectionism was a direct result of their incarceration, which their doctoral students from Japan benefited from,” Higuchi said. “My parents took special care of their Japanese students in an effort to connect with their heritage, which was taken from them during the war.” 

She reunited with Sugibayashi, Miyajima and other former students during a 2019 trip to Japan financed by the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and it was their increased awareness of William and Setsuko Higuchi’s incarceration that led them to support the publication of Setsuko’s Secret in Japan.

Heart Mountain is expanding its collection of translated works. The Foundation recently released translated issues of the Heart Mountain Bungei literary journals that were written in Japanese, and it owns the rights to Light One Candle, a Holocaust memoir recently published in Hebrew.