Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-1985, bulk circa 1910-1948
Tokita, Kamekichi, 1897-1948
Baker, Burt Brown
Callahan, Kenneth L.
Public Works of Art Project
Henry Art Gallery
Seattle Art Museum
Art Institute of Seattle
Minidoka Relocation Center
Hotel Cadillac (Seattle, Wash.)
Place of publication, production, or execution:
1.5 linear feet
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival electronic records with no duplicate copy requires advance notice.
The scattered personal papers of Seattle area painter Kamekichi Tokita (1897-1948) measure 1.3 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to 1985 with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1910 to 1948. The papers include biographical materials, including documents about the closing of the War Relocation Authority's Minidoka Camp in Idaho; correspondence; three diaries written in Japanese (transcribed in English in electronic format) documenting Tokita's war time experiences and relocation to Minidoka, two earlier notebooks, also written in Japanese, and scattered notes; a few personal business records; printed materials; one scrapbook; sketches; and one family photograph album.
Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-1985, bulk circa 1910-1948. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Portions of this collection are available on legacy microfilm reel 4883 at Archives of American Art offices, and through library loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the papers as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm due to reprocessing and the microfilm may not reflect the entirety of the collection.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool.
A watercolor painting on paper by Kamekichi Tokita, Untitled (Still Life), 9 x 12 in. was transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012.
Kamekichi Tokita (1897-1948) was a painter and businessman who emigrated from Japan in 1919 and settled in Seattle, Washington. Born Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Received his college education in Japan and immigrated to Seattle in 1919. Operated a sign painting business, Noto Sign Co., with Kenjiro Nomura. Tokita became one of a small number of progressive artists in Seattle in the 1930's which included Morris Graves and Kenneth Callahan. His work was supported by the Seattle Art Museum and exhibited regularly in Seattle and California between 1929 and 1936. He was interned with his family at Minidoka, Idaho, during World War II.
Diaries, notes and notebooks, and books are in Japanese.
The Kamekichi Tokita papers were donated by his son, Shokichi Tokita in 1990. He donated a third and final diary in 2017. They were collected as part of the Archives of American Art Northwest Asian American project in Seattle, Washington.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001