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Chiura Obata papers

Creator:
Obata, Chiura  Search this
Names:
Central Utah Relocation Center  Search this
Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, Calif.)  Search this
Obata, Gyo, 1923-  Search this
Okubo, Miné, 1912-2001  Search this
Extent:
3.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Date:
1891-2000
bulk 1942-1945
Summary:
The papers of Japanese-American artist and educator Chiura Obata measure 3.6 linear feet and date from circa 1891 to 2000 with the bulk of the material dating from 1942 to 1945. The collection contains biographical material primarily related to Obata's family's forced relocation from Berkeley to Tanforan detention center and incarceration at the Topaz Relocation center; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; writings by Chiura Obata and others; material related to the art schools Obata established at Tanforan and Topaz; teaching files and professional activities; exhibition files; printed material, including TREK, and Topaz Moon: Chiura Obata's Art of Internment; photographic material; and sketches and sketchbooks. There is a 1.0 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2020 that includes correspondence, writings, subject files and printed material.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Japanese-American artist and educator Chiura Obata measure 3.6 linear feet and date from circa 1891 to 2000 with the bulk of the material dating from 1942 to 1945. The collection contains biographical material primarily related to Obata's family's forced relocation from Berkeley to Tanforan detention center and incarceration at the Topaz Relocation center; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; writings by Chiura Obata and others; material related to the art schools Obata established at Tanforan and Topaz; teaching files and professional activities; exhibition files; printed material, including TREK, and Topaz Moon: Chiura Obata's Art of Internment; photographic material; and sketches and sketchbooks.

Biographical material includes Chiura Obata's school diplomas and resumes, as well as material related to his family's forced relocation and incarceration at Tanforan and Topaz, and eventual resettlement. There is a small amount of biographical material on others, such as records of memorial meetings held for Perham Nahl and material related to the forced relocation of Hiro Niwa.

The correspondence series consists of letters between Chiura Obata and family, friends, and colleagues, primarily while he was incarcerated at Tanforan and Topaz. Notable correspondents include John Boylin, Monroe Deutsch, Dorothy Parker, Miné Okubo, and Ruth Kingman. There are also letters of appreciation from students who attended the art schools established by Chiura Obata at Tanforan and Topaz.

Writings include diaries, lecture drafts, notes, and essays. Most of the writings are about art, but some are about Obata's experiences at Tanforan and Topaz. Also included in this series are translations of Obata's paintings and poems and writings by others on various subjects.

The professional activities series contains materials related to Obata's work as an artist and educator from his time teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, to the Tanforan and Topaz Art Schools he founded. Most of the series consists of teaching files, but there are other files on projects, commissions, inventory lists, and art donations.

Exhibition files include a range of materials related to group and solo exhibitions of Chiura Obata's paintings. There are exhibition lists, price lists, catalogs, photographs, correspondence, loan forms, clippings, printed material, and one guest register.

Printed material includes exhibition announcements, catalogs, magazines, newspapers, clippings and calendars. Noteworthy items include copies of TREK, which were published by the Japanese Americans incarcerated at Topaz; printed material related to Miné Okubo; and copies of Topaz Moon: Chiura Obata's Art of Internment.

Photographic material includes an album from the Pan Pacific International Exposition and photographs of the Obata family's forced relocation from Berkeley, the Tanforan Art School, and their home in Webster Groves, Missouri, after they left the incarceration camps. There are also photographs used in the book Topaz Moon and photographs by the War Relocation Authority.

Artwork consists of a few watercolors, sketchbooks, and sketches, some of which were created during Obata's incarceration at Topaz. Other sketches were done for commercial work in St. Louis. There is an autograph book containing sketches and paintings by others.

Researchers should note that the term "evacuation" has been replaced in original folder titles with "forced relocation" for more accurate historical representation.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in 9 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1894-1898, 1935-circa 1975 (Box 1, OV 4; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1925-1992 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1924-circa 1964, circa 1986 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Professional Activities, 1913, 1924-1967 (Boxes 1-2, OV 4; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1925-1951 (Box 2, OV4; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1901-circa 1906, 1925-2000 (Box 2, OV 5; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographic Material, circa 1891-1969 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 8: Artwork, 1917-circa 1945 (Box 3, OV 5; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 9: Unprocessed Addition (Box 6; 1.0 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Chiura Obata (1885-1975) was a Japanese-American artist and educator. Born Zoroku Sato in Okayama prefecture in Japan, Obata showed artistic talent early in life. He joined the artist group Nihon Bijutsuin (the Japan Art Institute) and apprenticed with Tanryo Murata. Obata also trained in Western and modern Japanese art.

In 1903 Obata immigrated to the United States. He worked as a commercial designer and as an illustrator for newspapers including the New World and the Japanese American, San Francisco's two Japanese newspapers. In 1921 he co-founded the East West Art Society in San Francisco. He had his first exhibition for American audiences in 1928 and began teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1932.

In April of 1942, as a result of Executive Order 9066, Chiura Obata and his family were forcibly relocated from Berkley to Tanforan detention center. By May he and fellow artists had established an art school with over 900 students. The school was successful and they were able to hold an exhibition outside of the camp in July. In September of 1942, the Obatas were moved to the Topaz War Relocation center, where Obata founded the Topaz Art School.

In the spring of 1943 in the wake of the controversy over loyalty oaths, Obata was attacked by another prisoner who considered him to be a spy. After recovering in Topaz's hospital, he was released for his own safety. He and his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where his son Gyo was attending architecture school.

In 1945 Obata was reinstated as an instructor at the University of California, Berkeley. He continued to exhibit his artwork and went on sketching and painting trips with the Sierra Club. In 1954 he became a naturalized citizen.

After his retirement from the University of California, Berkeley in 1953, Obata and his wife, Haruko, led tours to Japan to see Japanese gardens and art. He also gave lectures and demonstrations on Japanese brush painting and led tours through California. In 1965 Obata received the Order of the Sacred Treasure Emperor's Award for promoting good will and cultural understanding between the United States and Japan. Chiura Obata died in 1975 at the age of 90.
Provenance:
The Chiura Obata papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2018 and 2020 by Kimi Kodani Hill and Mia Kodani Brill, Chiura Obata's grandchildren.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Artists -- California  Search this
Painters -- California -- Berkeley  Search this
Educators  Search this
Topic:
Japanese American artists  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Citation:
Chiura Obata papers, circa 1891-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.obatchiu
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-obatchiu
Online Media:

Photograph of Chiura Obata teaching a children's art class at Tanforan Art School

Subject:
Obata, Chiura  Search this
Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, Calif.)  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1942
Topic:
Art teachers  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)21259
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_21259
Online Media:

Sketch from Topaz, California

Creator:
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Subject:
Central Utah Relocation Center  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Place:
Topaz, Utah
Date:
1942 December
Topic:
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)21261
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_21261

Artist's statement

Creator:
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Subject:
Central Utah Relocation Center  Search this
Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, Calif.)  Search this
Type:
Writings
Date:
194-?
Topic:
Art schools  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)21292
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_21292

Tanforan Art School record book

Creator:
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Subject:
Obata, Chiura  Search this
Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, Calif.)  Search this
Type:
Writings
Date:
1942
Topic:
Art schools  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22009
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22009

Trek volume 1, number 3

Creator:
Central Utah Relocation Center  Search this
Central Utah Relocation Center  Search this
Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1943 June
Topic:
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22010
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22010

Still life class

Photographer:
Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965  Search this
Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965  Search this
Subject:
Obata, Chiura  Search this
Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, Calif.)  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1942 June 16
Topic:
Art schools  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22030
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22030
Online Media:

Morning class learning free hand brush strokes

Photographer:
Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965  Search this
Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965  Search this
Subject:
Obata, Chiura  Search this
Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, Calif.)  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1942 June 16
Topic:
Art schools  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22031
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22031
Online Media:

Survey of Obata art project

Creator:
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Obata, Chiura, 1885-1975  Search this
Subject:
Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, Calif.)  Search this
Type:
Writings
Date:
Not before 1942
Topic:
Art schools  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22057
See more items in:
Chiura Obata papers, 1891-2000, bulk 1942-1945
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22057

Exhibition pamphlet for the exhibit Executive order 9066

Subject:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1975
Topic:
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)17490
See more items in:
Roy Leeper and Gaylord Hall collection of Miné Okubo papers, circa 1940-2001
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_17490
Online Media:

Trek Vol. 1, no. 1

Creator:
Central Utah Relocation Project. Project Reports Division  Search this
Central Utah Relocation Project. Project Reports Division  Search this
Subject:
Okubo, Miné  Search this
Central Utah Relocation Project  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1942 December
Topic:
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)17495
See more items in:
Esther McCoy papers, circa 1876-1990, bulk 1938-1989
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_17495

Trek Vol. 1, no. 2

Creator:
Central Utah Relocation Project. Project Reports Division  Search this
Central Utah Relocation Project. Project Reports Division  Search this
Subject:
Okubo, Miné  Search this
Central Utah Relocation Project  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1943 February
Topic:
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)17496
See more items in:
Esther McCoy papers, circa 1876-1990, bulk 1938-1989
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_17496

Tom Crouch at "A More Perfect Union" Exhibit

Author:
Strauss, Richard  Search this
Subject:
Crouch, Tom D  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.) Dept of Social and Cultural History  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)  Search this
Physical description:
Color: Black and White; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print
Type:
Photographic print
Person, candid
Exhibit
Date:
1989
Topic:
Employees  Search this
Japanese Americans  Search this
Museums--Employees  Search this
Museum curators  Search this
Exhibitions  Search this
World War, 1939-1945--Evacuation of civilians  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Standard number:
89-13614-14/15 or 89-13614.14
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_10122

The politics of fieldwork : research in an American concentration camp / Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

Author:
Hirabayashi, Lane Ryo  Search this
Subject:
Poston Relocation Center (Ariz.) Research  Search this
Poston (Ariz. : Camp d'internement) Recherche  Search this
Poston Relocation Center  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 219 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
History
Place:
Arizona
Poston
Poston (Ariz.)
Date:
1999
©1999
Topic:
Japanese Americans--Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945--Research  Search this
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Research  Search this
Asian Americans--history  Search this
Warfare  Search this
Américains d'origine japonaise--Évacuation et relogement, 1942-1945--Recherche  Search this
Guerre mondiale, 1939-1945--Camps de concentration--Recherche  Search this
Concentration camps  Search this
Japanese Americans  Search this
Research  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
History  Search this
Histoire  Search this
Recherche  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_562505

Concentration camps USA: Japanese Americans and World War II

Author:
Daniels, Roger  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 188 pages illustrations 23 cm
Type:
Texts
Place:
United States
Date:
1971
[1971]
Topic:
Japanese Americans--Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945  Search this
Internment camps  Search this
Américains d'origine japonaise--Évacuation et relogement, 1942-1945  Search this
Japanese Americans  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
United States--Internment of Japanese World War 2  Search this
Call number:
D769.8.A6 D35 1971b
D769.8.A6 D35
D769.8.A6 D35X
D769.8.A6D35
D769.8.A6D35X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1146824

Prejudice : Japanese-Americans : symbol of racial intolerance / by Carey McWilliams

Author:
McWilliams, Carey 1905-1980  Search this
Physical description:
337 pages ; 21 cm
Type:
Texts
Place:
United States
Date:
1944
Topic:
Japanese  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Internment camps  Search this
Japanese Americans  Search this
Concentration camps  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Japaner  Search this
Nationale Minderheit  Search this
Rassismus  Search this
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Call number:
E184.J3 M36 1944
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_596261

Grayce Uyehara Papers

Topic:
Social Justice
Creator:
Uyehara, Grayce  Search this
Names:
Japanese American Citizens' League  Search this
Donor:
Uyehara, Paul M.  Search this
Extent:
18 Cubic feet (18 boxes)
Culture:
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Articles
Audio cassettes
Awards
Compact discs
Letters (correspondence)
Memoranda
Minutes
Newsclippings
Newsletters
Oral history
Pamphlets
Photographs
Reports
Slides
Speeches
Videocassettes
Date:
1929-2008
Summary:
The papers document the life and activism of Grayce Uyehara who was a pivotal figure within the Redress Movement and sought reparations for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Content Description:
The papers document the life and activism of Grayce Uyehara who was a pivotal figure within the Redress Movement and sought reparations for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The collection materials span different social justice topics that Uyehara was involved with outside of Japanese American communities. Geographically, the materials are primarily from her time in Stockton, California; Rohwer, Arkansas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C., as well as other places.

The papers include materials relating to Uyehara's own incarceration; her lobbying work with the Japanese American Citizens League; other activism and grass roots activities; speeches; campaign materials; articles; memos; financial reports; work journals; photographs of the Uyeharas; community newspapers; film slides of redress; personal letters; internal correspondence; leadership conference notes; educational materials; interviews; awards; student theses; pamphlets; booklets; oral histories; maps; meeting minutes; newsletters; directories; and congressional records.
Arrangement:
The collection is unarranged.
Biographical:
Grayce Uyehara was a social worker and pivotal Redress Movement activist who helped lead the reparations campaign for the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Uyehara was born Ritsuko Kaneda on July 4th, 1919, in Stockton, California. Her parents named her Ritsu, which roughly translates to notions of law and independence, informed by their understanding of the significance of Independence Day. Her father, Tsuyanoshi Kaneda, worked in agriculture and business and performed domestic tasks. Through this, he developed a reliable business working for lawyers, doctors, and school administrators. Her mother, Tome Kaneda, raised their children. Her mother was strict but also encouraged her children to excel at whatever they did. She enrolled them in Japanese and music classes and expected them to help out at church and in the community. Uyehara was the second of seven children, and as the eldest daughter was expected to be a role model for her younger siblings.

In high school, Uyehara belonged to a Japanese student club, excelled in her schoolwork, and was part of the marching band, playing the bassoon. She also played piano for Sunday school at church, which had both English and Japanese services. She became involved in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), participating in its oratorical contests. Because of her community service, the elders and her peers in the Japanese American community respected Uyehara.

Uyehara majored in music at the University of the Pacific. She believed music would allow her to start a career as a local Japanese American piano teacher and church organist. She worked many jobs to pay for tuition while her parents helped cover her costs. While in college, she became involved in the Japanese American Young People's Christian Conference (YPCC) in Northern California. Uyehara continued to be recognized for her leadership and competence by becoming the chairperson of the Sacramento YPCC as a college senior.

In January 1942, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Uyehara was asked by the university president to become an instructor to teach Japanese to young men in military service at the local army base. Citing her patriotic duty, she accepted the position. She was able to finish school before being incarcerated, partly because her mother pushed her to do well and to stay in school. When the Uyehara family prepared to leave their home in April, one of her professors offered to hold their household belongings. Although she satisfied her graduation requirements, she received her degree in absentia. Two of her siblings were also in college when their academic careers were interrupted. She was very upset that her parents did not get to see her graduate because they had sacrificed so much.

The Kaneda family was forcibly relocated to the Stockton Temporary Detention Center in May 1942. At the Stockton Center, she put her service skills to work and assisted other Nisei inmates in organizing a makeshift school for Japanese American youth. Located on the site of the county fairgrounds, the school was forced to hold classes in the grandstands. Through one of her father's contacts, she was able to secure a donation of books, and she became the supervisor in charge of elementary education. Some of the young soldiers that she taught at the base also came to visit her. She spent four months there, and in September of 1942, her family was notified that they would be forcibly moved to Rohwer, Arkansas. While her family traveled ahead, she stayed behind to help close the Stockton Temporary Detention Center.

At Rohwer, Uyehara remained active and continued to hone her leadership and organizational skills. She helped create church services for young people, played the piano at various events, and taught music in junior high-level classes. During this time, she realized that her previous career path as a piano teacher was not realistic. She discovered that the Minnesota State Teachers College was offering scholarships to eligible camp inmates and decided to pursue the opportunity. She left the camp in January 1943 with three other young Nisei. She lived at a boarding house with another Nisei student from the Tule Lake incarceration camp. She had an active social life but found the classes to be unchallenging. During the summer in St. Paul, she stayed with a woman who was active with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, a liberal group who spoke out against war. Unsure of what to do next, she then returned to Rohwer where she worked at the camp hospital, continually checking for jobs. She found a job listing in Virginia where one of her younger sisters was attending school, and she left Rohwer for the last time. In Virginia, she worked as an editorial secretary. She was grateful that it was not a service job, which was the norm for young Japanese American women. Uyehara's brother, Ben, was attending Temple University in Philadelphia during this time. He assured her that the Quakers would help the Kaneda family with moving from the camp. Convinced, she packed up again and moved further north.

In Philadelphia, Uyehara found an apartment in the Fellowship House, an organization providing workshops on race relations in the city. She began working for Family Services, a social service agency in the Germantown area of Philadelphia as a receptionist and typist, but she also conducted intake interviews with the clients of the agency. She further continued her role as a community leader by becoming involved with the International Institute which assisted immigrants settling in Philadelphia, and became concerned with the needs of the Japanese American population moving in. Working closely with the Institute, she helped form the Philadelphia Nisei Council, which coordinated with the War Relocation Authority. She was the Nikkei representative of the Philadelphia Committee of Social Service Agencies whose role was to assist with relocation problems. Uyehara developed a handbook that detailed practical issues such as the cost of living in the city, how to rent an apartment, and where to find jobs. The Council began a newsletter, so the community could be aware of new people moving in to the area and of community events. She also started youth groups to provide activities and social interaction for high school and college-age youth coming out of the camp experience.

In Philadelphia, Uyehara became re-acquainted with Hiroshi Uyehara, whose mother knew Grayce's mother. They briefly met in Rohwer. He worked at a nearby Westinghouse factory as a draftsman. He had to receive an Army and Navy clearance, and during the wait went on strike. He became a volunteer at the International Institute where they reconnected. They married in 1946. Later, she and her husband were among those who formed the Philadelphia Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) to influence more people on social issues affecting Japanese Americans in a national context. Afterwards, the director of the International Institute arranged for the board to pay her graduate school tuition at the University of Pennsylvania while she worked as a social worker for the agency. She graduated in 1947 with a Masters in Social Work. Within two years of working in the community, she was asked to serve on the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission. She used this opportunity to highlight the perspectives of Japanese Americans.

The Uyehara's first son, Chris, was born in May of 1948. In 1950, they had a second child, Lisa. The International Institute asked her to return as a volunteer, and she started a program to help American servicemen and Japanese brides returning from Japan to adjust to a new life. She worked directly with Japanese women in teaching American customs, including etiquette and cooking lessons. She also provided individual counseling. She was very active with the local Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and became president, creating parent education programs and raising funds for the local school library. Uyehara was also very active in the National Association of Social Workers, the Cub Scouts, the local Presbyterian church, the West Chester Human Relationships Council, and the League of Women Voters. Later, she had two more children, Larry, in 1952, and Paul, in 1955. During this time, she was asked to help in establishing the first day care center for working mothers in West Chester. Despite the low pay, she was instrumental in establishing the center. In addition, she got involved in civil rights issues for African Americans, especially for school desegregation and upgrading placement rates for African American students.

In 1972, Uyehara served as the governor for the Eastern District Council of the JACL. She was on the National Board, and was the vice-president for General Operations, Chapter President, the National Civil Rights Committee, and the National Scholarship Committee. In 1974, Uyehara was the first woman to hold a JACL elected office. From 1973 to 1974, she was on the National Education Committee. She used her organizational skills to rearrange some existing educational programs so that the history of Japanese Americans could become more well known throughout the country. She also prioritized projects within the committee to make the programs more attractive to potential funders. Her ability to effectively organize with the JACL was influenced by the lessons learned in reading Years of Infamy by Michi Weglyn, and in the organizing lessons within African American communities after Brown v. Board of Education was passed.

In 1978, Uyehara was present at the 1978 Salt Lake City Convention when JACL decided to pursue redress, and was asked to be on the National Committee for Redress. Using her experience in improving school districts for African Americans, she worked hard to generate educational materials, bombard congressional offices and speak at various events and community organizations. She was also effective in gaining support from the Presbyterian Church and Jewish organizations. By 1985 she devised a plan to reach people on the East Coast, since there weren't many JACL chapters in major cities there. She retired from her job as a school social worker in order to help the JACL achieve redress. In the spring, she transferred to the Legislative Education Committee (LEC). Her philosophy was "If you're going to do it, you do it right. You just don't talk about it".

Uyehara did a lot of traveling between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Her husband was very supportive during this time. The leadership in Washington consisted of JACL officials and four Nikkei congressmen, who recognized Uyehara's work in coalition building and developing political relationships. Whenever a new member of Congress signed on to the Civil Liberties Act, she would send out a press statement, and any significant chapter events would be announced through her "Action Alerts." She also led congressional meetings with people like Senator Inouye, Ralph Neas, and Mike Masaoka because she was very familiar with the legislative process.

Uyehara sent information "vernaculars" to newspapers and newsletter organizations in New York and Los Angeles as well as the Pacific Citizen, so that people could see progress taking place within the redress effort. She urged people to initiate contacts in states like Florida and North Carolina to ensure votes were not lost. If an area had lower numbers of Japanese American constituents, she would ask different contacts to support the redress effort and lobby congress to vote for it. She also used her existing relationships with the American Friends Service Committee, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Jewish war veterans, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'irth and the American Jewish Committee. Greatly aided by her efforts, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was passed. It issued a formal apology from the government and $20,000 to each surviving incarceree. This act also required monuments, museums, and classrooms to teach the history of Japanese American incarceration so similar discrimination would never happen again to others.

After redress was passed, Uyehara was still actively involved in community organizing. She chaired the JACL Legacy Fund campaign, which raised over $5 million to support other JACL programs. She engaged with the Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, speaking at educational engagements about redress and organizing efforts for residents in her retirement community through the Diversity Committee and the Mental Health Committee. She was a passionate advocate for Japanese Canadian redress. She also helped coordinate the Philadelphia area fundraising effort for the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. In addition, she enjoyed spending more time with family, gardening, and playing the piano.

In 2014, Uyehara was honored by Asian Americans United with its Standing Up for Justice Award. Uyehara passed away on June 22, 2014, at Virtual Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Japanese Americans remember Uyehara for her effectiveness and dedication as an activist, community leader, and the mother of Redress. Her experiences of being discriminated against and having to work to support the family at a young age sensitized her to the plight of working women and the economically disadvantaged. This greatly informed her service not only for Japanese Americans, but for all communities in America.

Sources

Susan Nakaoka. "Nisei Political Activists: The Stories of Five Japanese American Women Master of Arts., (University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1999) found in Grayce Uyehara Papers, Box 1, Folder N, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Gammage, Jeff. "Grayce Uyehara, fought for interned Japanese-Americans." The Philadelphia Inquirer, https://www.inquirer.com/philly/obituaries/20140624_Grayce_Uyehara fought_for_interned_Japanese-Americans.html June 23, 2014. Last Accessed March 18, 2019.
Provenance:
Collection donated to the Archives Center in 2019 by Paul M. Uyehara.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Civil rights movements  Search this
Concentration camps -- United States  Search this
Newspapers -- 20th century  Search this
Reparations for historical injustices  Search this
Genre/Form:
Articles -- 20th century
Audio cassettes
Awards
Compact discs
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Memoranda
Minutes
Newsclippings
Newsletters
Oral history
Pamphlets
Photographs
Reports -- 20th century
Slides
Speeches -- 20th century
Videocassettes
Citation:
Grayce Uyehara Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1480
See more items in:
Grayce Uyehara Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8cd36d3c8-cbfb-481d-ac04-3890beb7b807
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1480
Online Media:

Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters

Creator:
Sato, Sanji (student)  Search this
Satow, R. (student)  Search this
Satow, Susama Paul (student)  Search this
Lamboley, E. Gerald  Search this
Sato, Kiyo (student)  Search this
Komata, Tomi (student)  Search this
Names:
Edward Kelley School (Sacramento (Cal.))  Search this
Pinedale Assembly Camp.  Search this
Poston Relocation Camp  Search this
War Relocation Authority  Search this
Cox, Mary Aline, 1890-1972 (teacher)  Search this
Extent:
0.12 Cubic feet (1 folder, 6 letters)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Biographies
Typescripts
Transcripts
Place:
Sacramento (Calif.) -- Correspondence -- 1940-1950
Poston (Ariz.) -- Correspondence -- 1940-1950
Pinedale (Calif.) -- Correspondence -- 1940-1950
Date:
1942-1943
Summary:
Letters from students of Japanese-American ancestry to Miss Cox, their former teacher at the Edward Kelley School in Sacramento, California. This teacher has been identified as Mary Aline Cox by Ms. Colleen Zoller, January 13, 2009.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains six letters dated 1942 1943 from former students of Japanese American ancestry to Miss Cox, a teacher at the Edward Kelley School in Sacramento, California. Three letters were written from inside a camp, while the others were written from outside of camp. The letters are arranged chronologically. Sanji Sato, a young male not yet out of high school, penned both Letters 1 and 3. The first dated June 12, 1942 was written from Pinedale "A.C." [Assembly Center]. This letter contains a brief description of the center, one of many used to keep internees until the ten more permanent camps were prepared to receive them, and its physical surroundings, as well a mention of the medical examination and vaccinations the evacuees underwent.

Letter 3, more lengthy in nature, covers the dates January 1, 1943, to March 6, 1943. Sent from Poston, Arizona (location of the largest relocation camp), Sato indicated the block and barrack numbers of his lodgings. The camp is defined by the arid surroundings, temperature, flora and fauna, and natural landmarks; its

inhabitants are defined by their New Year's Exhibition and Boy Scout Troops. Pertinent to the historian are Sato's opinion of the "loyalty" forms, why Japanese Americans should fight in World War II, and the behavior of other Poston residents. Also of interest are his personal discussions of his former life on the farm, his passion for the American flag, and remembrance of his dog.

Letter 2 was written by a student identified as "Kiyo" on December 26, 1942, in Garrett, Indiana while on vacation from college (later identified as Ms. Kiyo Sato). A former internee at Poston Relocation Center, she wrote of her reaction to school and dorm life, as well as her reaction, as a person of Japanese ancestry, to a Midwestern town. She expressed hope of ending any misconceptions and of the evacuees returning home "in one piece." Letter 4 is signed "R. Satow and family" and dated April 19, 1943. A year after leaving the relocation center, the writer, having reached Keenesburg, Colorado, thanks Miss Cox for her assistance. The writer's surroundings are reported in addition to updates on other former internees' activities.

The Poston Relocation Center was also the home of Susuma Paul Satow, writer of Letter 5. Satow diplayed the belief that his volunteering in the army benefited the government and reflected well on Japanese Americans. Another topic discussed the regret that some "No No Boys" experienced and Satow's personal lack of empathy for them. The writer voiced concern about anti Japanese American discrimination in Sacramento, and, thus, his hesitancy to return.

Letter 6, from Tomi Komata, was undated and meant to inform Miss Cox of his life in college (possibly Downer College). "Released and happy," Komata announced the lack of expected discrimination and the racial tension that did exist, as well as his scorn of those in camp who listened to rumors of prejudice. Mentions of the WRA and how internees should be more willing to embrace its programs are included.
Arrangement:
1 series. Not arranged.
Biographical / Historical:
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to bar "any and all persons" from certain sections of the United States for purposes of national defense. A reaction to the "yellow peril" "demonstrated" by the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, the Executive Order would mean that all Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese ancestry would be required to "evacuate" the West Coast of the United States. By the end of this policy in 1946, over 120,000 men, women, and children had been forcefully relocated to various types of internment camps.

Not only had the possessions and lives of these people been disrupted, their privacy and Constitutional rights were ignored as the government thoroughly investigated their lives, looking for any signs of disloyalty to America. Early in 1943, tests were made of their "loyalty" as they were asked to forswear allegiance to the emperor of Japan, swear allegiance to the United States, and volunteer for military service.

Through programs established by the War Relocation Authority (WRA), internees were permitted to leave the camps permanently, provided they had a job or attended a college or university and passed additional government investigations. By 1943, 17,000 people had left the camps in this manner. Others left by joining the military. By 1946, the last permanent camp was dismantled.
Materials in Other Organizations:
Materials at Other organizations

War Relocation Authority, Record Group 210, or those of the United States Commands, 1947 , Record Group 338, National Archives and records Administration

National Headquarters of the Japanese American Citizens League in San Francisco, California

Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Japanese American Documentary Collection, 1905-1945 (AC0305)
Provenance:
Collection donated by E. Gerald Lamboley, June 2, 1992.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Usage or copyright restrictions. Contact repository for further information.
Topic:
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Internees -- Japanese Americans -- 1940-1950  Search this
Concentration camps -- United States  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Evacuation of civilians  Search this
Teachers -- 1940-1950  Search this
Students -- 1940-1950  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence -- 1940-1950
Biographies
Typescripts -- 1940-1950
Transcripts
Citation:
Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters, 1942-1943, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0450
See more items in:
Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8d2d7d897-1aec-4cea-abc1-1d59bbf0fce3
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0450
Online Media:

[Letter to Miiss Cox : typescript]

Author:
Sato, Kiyo (student)  Search this
Names:
Cox, Mary Aline, 1890-1972 (teacher)  Search this
Collection Creator:
Sato, Sanji (student)  Search this
Satow, R. (student)  Search this
Satow, Susama Paul (student)  Search this
Lamboley, E. Gerald  Search this
Sato, Kiyo (student)  Search this
Komata, Tomi (student)  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Ink on paper.)
Culture:
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Correspondence
Typescripts
Place:
Garrett (Ind.)
Indiana -- 20th century
Date:
[Dec. 26, 1942.]
Scope and Contents:
Typescript with hand-written P.S.
Local Numbers:
AC0450-0000001.tif (AC Scan No.)
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Usage or copyright restrictions. Contact repository for further information.
Topic:
Students -- 1940-1950  Search this
Concentration camps -- United States  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence -- 1940-1950
Typescripts -- 1940-1950
Collection Citation:
Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters, 1942-1943, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters
Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters / Letter 2
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8b88dbea4-50ba-4402-aa15-0f9edb30d56c
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0450-ref532

Kamikawa and Omata Family Papers

Creator:
Omata, Hiroko  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Genealogical tables
Genealogies
Date:
ca. 1900-2006.
Summary:
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.
Scope and Contents note:
This collection consists of genealogical 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.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into two series.

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

Series 2: Oral History Interview, 2004
Biographical/Historical note:
: 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.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Bishop Mitsumyo Tottori Memorial Notebooks (NMAH.AC.0926)

Japanese American Documentary Collection (NMAH.AC.0305)

Gerald Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters (NMAH.AC.0450)

Catherine Hann Papers (NMAH.AC.0921)

Juanita Tamayo Lott Filipino American Photographs and Papers (NMAH.AC.0925)
Provenance:
Collection donated by Hiroko Omata, 2006.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research and access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Merchants -- 20th century  Search this
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945  Search this
Japanese American families -- Photographs  Search this
Japanese American families  Search this
Immigrants  Search this
Genre/Form:
Genealogical tables
Genealogies
Citation:
Kamikawa and Omata Family Papers, circa 1900-2006, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0924
See more items in:
Kamikawa and Omata Family Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c1938ba6-f7f7-4a6c-b78d-e19c978f9e18
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0924

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