Photo Caption: Alien Registration Document
The Japanese American History Collection at the Center for Oral and Public History began with individuals residing in Orange County, California, who, for the most part, were of Japanese ancestry and had been interned during the war in the Poston War Relocation Center in southwestern Arizona. More importantly, it indicates that within the next two years project members generated seventy-three new interviews, and that these taped recollections encompassed the evacuation experiences of Japanese Americans and non-Japanese Americans from all over California, though particularly from the Los Angeles area, prewar residential, commercial, and cultural center of the mainland Japanese American community.
In addition to addressing the situations prevalent for evacuees at the nine other War Relocation Authority (WRA) centers apart from Poston, especially the Manzanar center in eastern California that housed primarily evacuees from Los Angeles County, these interviews embraced the reminiscences of 1) Japanese Americans who had been detained temporarily in many of the fifteen assembly centers managed by the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA); resident Japanese aliens deemed "potentially dangerous" who were interned in one or more of the several centers administered by the United States Department of Justice; 3) children and grandchildren of the evacuees capitalizing upon the symbolic meaning of the Evacuation as activists in contemporary movements of ethnic consciousness-cum-cultural politics; 4) Caucasians who had been employed by the WRA as camp administrators; and 5) non-Japanese residents of the small communities in the regions close to the sites of the former California camps of Manzanar and Tule Lake. The latter was located near the Oregon border and was converted during the war from a regular relocation center to a segregation center for Japanese Americans deemed "disloyal."
Since its inception, the project has grown to more than 250 discrete oral histories. COPH's Japanese American collections have been some of the most frequently used materials by local and international scholars. It's one of the leading resources for educators, students, researchers, and the general public to learn about the local and regional Japanese American experience.
Additional information on the oral histories and the collections can be found here.
Correspondence, publications, photographs and other materials relating to camps during World War II. Includes typed letter by Hideo Hashimoto to his friends on life in a relocation center after 3 months (undated), articles on Assembly Centers, three Dorothea Lange prints (May 1942), and articles on Gila (Rivers AZ) including "A year at Gila Anniversary Booklet" (July 20, 1943), which has illustrations and maps. There is also a collection of articles on Tule Lake, Poston and Gila, including personal accounts, "The Truth about Jap Camps," by Maxine Davis, an original letter written by General Jacob L. Devers commending his Japanese American soldiers (April 30, 1945), copies of articles on the Japanese American military experience, a document from the a committee at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center (Wyoming), "Judicial Commission Case 181," and transcripts from Tom Yamada's court case (charged with assault and battery, transcript Sept. 16, 1944), a family photo album that documents a family in Hiroshima, Japan and has many photographs of Manzanar from 1942-1944.