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OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION

Title

Japanese American Documentary Collection

Collection Dates

1900-1988

Collection Number

AC0305

Extent

2 cubic feet, 5 boxes, 1 oversize folder

Processing Note

Processed by Robert S. Harding and Grace Angle, 1988; revised D. Haberstich, 2/1/89; revised J. Ravenscraft, 6/12/92 ; Revised Alison Oswald, 2012.

History 

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States went to war.  On February 19, 1942 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the military to exclude "any and all persons" from designated areas of the United States to protect the national defense.  Thus, without the imposition of martial law, the military were given authority over the civilian population. 

Under this order nearly 120,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry, nearly two thirds of whom were United States citizens, were forced out of their homes and into detention camps in isolated areas of the west.  Many of them spent the years of the war living under armed guards, and behind barbed wire.  Children spent their school days in the camps, young men left to volunteer or be drafted for military service. The camps were administered by the War Relocation Authority.

This collection of documentary materials relates to the involuntary relocation of Japanese Americans was collected by the Division of Armed Forces History in connection with the exhibit "A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the United States Constitution" at the National Museum of American History in 1988.  The donors were either members of the Japanese American Citizens League or reached through the League.  Interesting and revealing information is available about a few of the donors.  They were primarily teenagers or young adults at the time of the relocation and the materials in the collection reflect their interests and concerns.  Juichi Kamikawa, who had completed a year of college in Fresno, California, graduated from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. after the war and became a respected artist.  His family record is one of distinction in both Japan and the United States for several generations.  Masuichi Kamikawa, his father, received the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Japanese Emperor for outstanding contributions to the cultural heritage of Japan.  Among achievements cited were his work in merchandizing and banking in Fresno, California.  Mary Tsukamoto is one of the contributors to the video conversations in the exhibit.  She is a retired teacher who was 27 years old in 1942 and a long time resident of Florin, California.  Along with her entire family she was sent to the center at Jerome, Arkansas.  Mabel Rose Vogel taught high school at one of the camps, Rowher Center, Arkansas

Scope and Content 

The collection is an assortment of souvenirs and memorabilia which have survived the years since World War II.  Many of them, Christmas cards, high school graduation programs, notes to friends, snapshots, and photoprints in the form of dance programs reflect the interests and concerns of all teenagers.  There are camp newsletters and Japanese passports, identification cards, ration books, meal passes, posters, a photograph album contains both family photographs and a record of achievements of members of the Kamikawa family.  There is a transcript of a taped interview with Mrs. Kamikawa, who was nearly 90 in February 1982, the time of the interview.  A book, Lone Heart Mountain by Estelle Ishigo, portrays in text and sketches life in the relocation centers. 

The collection has been filed under the name of each donor rather than by subject such as passports, newsletters, photographs.  With very few exceptions the material is in good condition.  The historical sketch of the Matsumoto family tree in the photograph album is badly damaged.

Languages

Some materials in Japanese.

Provenance

Donated by a number of Japanese Americans, many of whom are members of the Japanese American Citizens League, headquartered in San Francisco.  This material was acquired for inclusion in the exhibition, A More Perfect Union, described above, but was not placed on display for one reason or another.  In certain instances, items in this collection were omitted from the exhibit if they were considered too fragile or too sensitive to prolonged exposure to light. 

Custodial History

Transferred from the Division of Armed Forces History to the Archives Center, June 1988.

Accruals

One photograph of the Amache High School Class was added in 2005; one book titled Minidoka Interlude, published by the residents of Mindoka Relocation Camp, Hunt, Idaho was added in 2006; and newsletters from internment camps in Arkansas and California were added in 2010.

Related Collections 

The Division of Armed Forces History have additional documents collected for the exhibit, "A More Perfect Union." Another collection on this topic in the Archives Center is AC0450, the Gerald Lampoley Collection of Japanese American Letters, 1942-1943, a collection of six letters written by Japanese Americans to their former teacher.  Researchers may also refer to the records of the War Relocation Authority, Record Group 210, or those of the United States Commands, 1947-, Record Group 338, in the National Archives.  The National Headquarters of the Japanese American Citizens League in San Francisco, California, and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California, maintain related collections.

Container List

Box

Folder

 

 

 

EMI, FRANK

1

1

Silver photoprint, 8" x 10": United States District Court, Cheyenne, Wyoming, June 13, 1944

 

2

ENDO

 

 

Silver photoprint:  Copy of sketch by Mrs. Ella Honderich of J. S. Aoki family barracks in Topaz, Utah, 1944.  Print dated October 1, 1945.

 

 

HASHIMOTO, M.

 

3

Identification card, undated

    ISHIMOTO, JANET SIMS; ISHIMOTO, NORMAN; ISHIMOTO, ROGER; AND MORRIS, MARY
4 1 The Pen, Rohwer Relocation Center, Desha County, Arkansas, 1943
  2 Lil Dan'l, Rohwer Relocation Center, Desha County, Arkansas,1943
  3 El Joaquin, Stockton, California, 1942 September 28
  4 TheTule Lake WRA Center Information Bulletin, California, 1944 February
  5 The Well Star, Newell, California, 1944-1945
  6 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1943 September
  7 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1943 October
  8 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1943 November
  9 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1943 December
  10 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1944 January
  11 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1944 February
  12 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1944 March
  13 The Rohwer Outpost, Rohwer, Arkansas, 1944 April
4 16 Denison Tribune, 1943 June; 1943 October-1943 June
5 1 Fresno Grapevine, 1942 July- 1943 October
  2 Gila News Courier, 1942 December-1943 March

 

 

KAMIKAWA, JUICHI AND MRS. KAZU

 

4

Bound xerographic copy of interview with Mrs. Kazu Kamikawa,1982, 39 pp.

 

5

Map of Jerome Relocation Center

 

6

Notice of Action on Application for Leave Clearance typescript on duplicated form, August 9, 1943, 1 p.

2

1

Photograph album (copy), 1900s-1967

 

2

Photograph Album (loose items), 1965, 1970

 

3

Photograph Album (original), 1900s-1967

 

4

Photograph Album (cover and tassels)

3

1A

Loose materials from photograph album

1

7

Scrapbook (black cover)

 

8

Loose materials from black covered scrapbook

 

9

Scrapbook (brown cover)

 

10

Loose materials from brown covered scrapbook

 

11

Scrapbook page

 

 

KAWASHIRI

 

12

Christmas carol booklet, War Ration Book with separate instruction sheet, Special Meal Pass

 

 

KIHARI, SHIGEYA

 

13

2 Imperial Japanese Government Passports in Japanese, English, and French for M. Kihara and K. Kihara, stamped 1912; Resident Identification card

4
14
MCGOVERN, M.P.
    War Relocation Center, Amache High School Junior Class, Colorado, 1944-1945
     

 

 

MATSUMOTO

 

14

Imperial Japanese Government Passport in Japanese, English, and French for Kazuko Matsumoto (with photograph), stamped 1919

 

 

MIYAKE, TAKASHI

 

15

Newsletter, "Fighting Americans Too," concerning Nisei troops; Message from Director of WRA

 

 

OLIVER, FLOYD A.

 

16

Partial letter from Yoshimitsu Suyematsu, April 20, 1942 (copy)

Newspaper Article, May 8, 1988, Seattle Post Intelligencer

 

 

OZAMOTO, T.

 

17

Silver photoprint of two men; telegram; War Relocation Authority letter; War Relocation Authority memo: two documents printed in Japanese; newsclipping

3

2

Letter written in Japanese

 

 

OZAMOTO, T.

 

O/S Fldr. 1

Panoramic photograph of Manzanar
4
15
TANAKA, PETER
    Minidoka Interlude, 1942 September-1943 October
     

 

 

TSUKAMOTO, MARY

1

18

Estelle Ishigo. Lone Heart Mountain.  Los Angeles, CA, 1972, 104pp. (book depicting camp life at Heart Mountain,Wyoming)

 

19

Silver photoprint of donor's mother in strawberry field.  Mounted on poster board with caption

 

20

Travel permit; Christmas card ("Merry Christmas / 442nd Combat Team"); souvenir edition of newsletter.

 

 

VOGEL, MABEL ROSE

 

21

Delta Round-up; Memories; Commencement; Rowher graduation program.

 

22

Relocation handbook; silver photoprint of Vogel at barracks

 

23

Rowher Outpost, June 9, September 1, September 8, 1943

 

24

Students with their murals (7 silver photoprints)

 

25

War Ration Book One; handmade Christmas card

3

3

Newsclipping, "Community Life at War Relocation Authority Center Pictured", Shreveport Journal, July 3, 1943

 

4

Posters—"For Victory Keep 'Em Flying"

Posters—"Save Money, Buy War Bonds"

Posters—"Buy Bonds for Victory"

 

 

WAKABAYASHI, RON

 

5

Xerographic copy of newspaper headline, The Bulletin, December 5, 1905


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E-mail: archivescenter@si.edu
Revised: March 12, 2012