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Title: Kamikawa, Omata, and Matsumoto Families Papers

Collection Date(s): circa 1850-2006 (bulk 1940s-2004)

Extent and Forms of Material: 1.66 cubic feet, including photographs and audio recordings (6 boxes, 5 audiocassette tapes)

Creators: Hiroko Kamikawa Omata and Donna Rise Omata

Abstract: The collection documents family history in Japan and in America and consists of photographs, documents and genealogical charts. There are also original audio recordings of Japanese poetry recitations and a transcript of an oral history interview relating to the internment of Japanese Americans.

Repository: Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 202-633-3270

Collection Number: AC0924

Processing Note: Processed by Adrienne Cain (intern) and Kiley Orchard (intern); supervised by Vanessa Broussard Simmons (archivist), 2008.


Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an “as needed” basis, as resources allow.

Technical Access: Do not use original materials when available on reference audio tapes.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.

Preferred Citation: Title and date of item, Kamikawa, Omata, and Matsumoto Families Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX


Biographical History: Four Kamikawa brothers, Riichi, Mitsuiji, Masuichi and Koichi, emigrated from Japan to Fresno, California, just before the turn of the twentieth century. They married and started a merchant business, Kamikawa Brothers, which operated in Fresno, Selma, San Francisco and Del Rey, California, and in Japan. The brothers expanded the business to include banking, a hotel, grocery, restaurant, public bath, vineyard and other enterprises. During World War II, family members were interned at a camp in Arkansas. After the war many settled in New Jersey and Maryland.

Members of the Omata family -- a brother, George, and two sisters, also immigrated to California in the 1890s, though the sisters eventually returned to Japan. George established grocery and dry good stores in Hanford, California, and was successful in securing day laborers for community businesses. George’s son, Robert, married Hiroko, the daughter of Masuichi Kamikawa, in 1948. Some members of the Omata family also were interned, and they too eventually settled on the East Coast.

The Matsumoto family was a well-to-do family in Japan. They were involved in the production of fertilizer and steel. Katsu (Kazu) Masimoto was the wife of Masuichi Kamikawa, and mother of Hiroko Kamikawa Omata.

Scope and Content: This collection consists ofgenealogical and historical information about the Kamikawa, Omata, and Matsumoto families and their descendants compiled by Hiroko Kamikawa Omata. The materials include ancestry charts, copies of photographs, letters, interviews, and copies of official documents such as diplomas, naturalization papers, as well as announcements regarding the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. The collection was arranged by the donor, and the Archives Center has maintained this arrangement. All dates in this collection refer to the original creation date of the collected materials. The family papers were originally amassed in 2004 and were edited in 2006.

System of Arrangement: The collection is arranged in two series.

Series 1, Kamikawa, Omata and Matsumoto Families Papers, 1850-2006, undated, is a collection of four notebooks containing detailed histories of each family. Materials consist of copies of family photographs, family trees, newspaper clippings, transcripts of interviews, and correspondence. The notebook on the history of the Kamikawa brothers was updated and revised in 2006. Another copy, the original from 2004, is included among these materials.

There are five audio cassette tapes that feature shigin, a form of Japanese poetry that is usually chanted. These tapes document shigins performed by a man, perhaps an instructor, followed by recitations by students, including Kazu Kamikawa, Donna Omata’s maternal grandmother. Throughout the tapes, the instructor coaches and guides the students. The tapes are in Japanese.

Series 2, Oral History Interview, 2004, is a transcription of an interview conducted by Donna R. Omata with Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig and Jack Herzig, contributors to the book Personal Justice Denied, about the Japanese-American internment experience during World War II. The interview was conducted on April 4, 2004.

Languages: Some materials are in Japanese.

Acquisition Information: The collection was donated by Hiroko Kamikawa Omata in 2006.

Existence and Location of Originals: The families maintain the originals of some of the materials.

Related Archival Materials: The Kamikawa, Omata, and Matsumoto Families Papers complement other Archives Center holdings including Bishop Mitsumyo Tottori Memorial Notebooks, Japanese American Documentary Collection, Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters, Catherine Hann Papers and Juanita Tamayo Lott Filipino American Photographs and Papers.

Access Points:

Herzig, Aiko Yoshinaga
Herzig, Jack
Inaki, Toyojiro
Inaki, Toyoko Matsumoto
Omata, Hiroko Kamikawa
Kamikawa, Iwa
Kamikawa, Kaoru Shimata
Kamikawa, Katsu (Kazu) Matsumoto
Kamikawa, Koichi
Kamikawa, Masuichi
Kamikawa, Mitsuji
Kamikawa, Riichi
Kamikawa, Reki Wada
Kamikawa, Shizuno Ito
Lee, Chung Young
Lee, Tsuenko (Tuny) Omata
Omata, George Jitsuzo
Omata, Goro
Omata, Jiro
Omata, Kane Okazaki
Omata, Kay Okamoto
Omata, Kikuko (Keech) Domoto
Omata, Kiyo Sakai
Omata, Minoru
Omata, Patsy Teruko Kodama
Omata, Robert Rokuro
Omata, Shiro
Omata, Yuko

Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
Japanese American families -- Photographs
Japanese American families
Merchants -- 20 th century

Fresno ( Calif.)
Seabrook (N.J.)
Washington, D.C.

Genealogical tables







Series 1, Kamikawa, Omata and Matsumoto Families Papers, 1850-2006, undated



Subseries 1, History of Kamikawa Brothers, 1995, 2004, 2006



History of Kamikawa Brothers, 1910-1993, created 2004, revised 2006



Addendum, 2004



Subseries 2, History of Omata Family, circa 1915-2005, undated



Family of George Jitsuzo and Kane Okazaki Omata and their descendants, circa 1915-1980, undated



Family of Chung Young and Tsuenko (Tuny) Omata Lee, circa 1970-2004, undated



Family of Minoru and Kay Okamoto Omata, circa 1970-1999, undated



Family of Jiro and Kikuko (Keech) Domoto Omata, 1964-2004, undated



Yamada family ancestors, 1964-2004



Family of Shiro and Patsy Teruko Kodama Omata, circa 1940, circa 1979-2005, undated



Family of Goro and Kiyo Sakai Omata, circa 1989, 1999, undated



Yuko Omata, 1989



Family of Robert Rokuro and Hiroko Kamikawa Omata, circa 1940-2005, undated



Subseries 3, History of Kamikawa and Matsumoto Families, circa 1850-2003, undated


volume 1

Kamikawa brothers stores, circa 1850-2000, undated



Family of Riichi and Reki Wada Kamikawa, circa 1903-2003, undated



Family of Mitsuji and Shizuno Ito Kamikawa, circa 1910-2003, undated



Family of Masuichi and Katsu (Kazu Matsumoto) Kamikawa, circa 1910-1999, undated



Masuichi Kamikawa and Katsu Matsumoto Kamikawa, 1954 April 19



Juchi Kamikawa, 1942-2003, undated


volume 2

Family of Koichi and Kaoru Shimata Kamikawa, circa 1910-1960, undated



Family of Toyojiro and Toyoko Matsumoto Inaki, circa 1960, 1961



Fresno State College, circa 1942, 1992, undated



Jerome Relocation Center, Desson, Arkansas, circa 1943-1997



Washington, D.C. after Jerome Relocation Center, 1943-1946



Occupation days, Tokyo, Japan, 1946



Copies of photographs and newspaper clippings of Kamikawa, Omata, and Matsumoto families, circa 1910-1967



Shigin lesson, 1973



Shigin lesson, 1973 April 11



Shigin lesson, undated



Shigin lesson, undated



Shigin lesson, undated



Series 2, Oral History Interview, 2004



Transcription of interview by Donna R. Omata with Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig and Jack Herzig, 2004 April 4

Revised: January 16, 2009