The topic of Polish diaspora in Japan, a community with which Poles in Japan identify as Poles, recognize Polish heritage and connection to what it means to be Polish is one of important, but practically unresearched issues in Poland-Japan relations. From the 1970s a growth in Polish population in Japan can be observed. They began to organize meetings, establish formal and less official groups and have helped and maintained connections to Poland. This paper will focus on the post-war history of Polish diaspora in Japanese islands.
Japanese literature has been known in Poland at least since the end of the 19th century, when first translations were made of Japanese prose and poetry (although via English or other languages). I consider the first translation made directly from Japanese into Polish language a short story by Kikuchi Kan, entitled Tusz ('Ink'), published in April of 1939, in a monthly magazine "Echoes from Far East." In the same magazine we can find also many examples of stories and poetry written not by Japanese, but by Polish authors, fascinated with Japan and its culture. Works by the same authors: Maria Juszkiewiczowa, Aleksander Janowski, Antoni Kora, Leon Rygier, Remigjusz Kwiatkowski and others were published also in other newspapers and magazines, and as separate novel books. While some short mentions about the earliest translations may be found in books on Japanese literature and contacts between Poland and Japan, novels, stories and poems written originally by Polish authors inspired by Japan are now all but forgotten. Hardly any of them were published again after World War II and they are not to be found in regular libraries. In the present paper I concentrate on the forgotten jewels of Polish prose (and to some extent poetry and drama) based on Japanese themes, published before World War II.