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 photographic prints 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.
1 series, arranged alphabetically by donor.
Biographical / Historical:
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 who 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 War Relocation Authority administered the camps.
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 either were 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.
The Division of Armed Forces History will have additional documents collected for the exhibit, A More Perfect Union, described above, that may be useful. Another collection on this topic in the Archives Center is collection #450, 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. Further, 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.
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. It is possible that related items, currently on display, ultimately will be transferred to the Archives Center; if this occurs, it would be useful to distinguish between the two groups of exhibited and undisplayed materials. Transferred from the Division of Armed Forces History, June 1988.
The collection is open for research use.
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. Collection located at off-site storage area.
Viewing film portion of collection requires special appointment, please inquire; listening to LP recordings only possible by special arrangement. Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
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.