|Overview||Image Library||Oral Histories||Mary Tsukamoto||A/V Library||Artifacts||Related Sites|
The images on this page are a sampling of the extensive artifact collection included in the Japanese American Archival Collection. For additional information about the JAAC, please see our website at The Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Library, California State University, Sacramento or call us at (916) 278-6144
Note: Click on the thumbnail to view the larger image
Army Service Flag, ca. 1943, JC3C 09
This flag was displayed in an internment camp by the parents of two Japanese American World War II soldiers.
Watercolor of Tule Lake barracks with watchtower, 1944. Artist: Charles Erabu Mikami, JCFolio2 07
Mikami was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1901 and began studying sumi-e painting at the age of 14. In 1919 he immigrated to Seattle. He and his family were interned first at Tule Lake Internment Center and later transferred to Topaz Internment Center. During his incarceration, he actively painted sumi-e. After moving to Morgan Hill, California, he continued to do sumi-e painting and write senrye poems. His paintings can be found in the collection of the Japanese American Archives in San Francisco.
Oval fruit basket with handle, n.d. Artist: Constance Kurosawa McMillan, JC25R1 30
Basket made while interned at Topaz Internment Center by wrapping crepe paper around thin wires, weaving it into a basket shape, and shellacking it.
Hana Fuda Japanese playing cards, n.d. Artist: Choji Nakan, JC25B 05
The set consists of seventy-five individually hand painted playing cards made while Mr. Nakan was at Tule Lake Internment Center. Made of hard electrical insulation boards, they became so popular that he made them for people in the other nine internment centers.
Manzanita cane, n.d. JC22L 10
This cane was carved in Tule Lake Internment Center and has painted images of a monkey, giraffe, lion, frog, and Native Americans performing a war dance. From Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: "Curious natural wood forms were sought, collected and used by the wood-minded, and in these camp communities in which most of the getting about was by foot, it was inevitable that walking sticks in natural forms would be searched for, and others shaped for use.
Wooden pin, ca. 1943, JC22V 11
Made at Tule Lake Internment Center.
Tortoise carved from oak wood, ca. 1944. Artist: Kametaro Takeuchi, JC1F 01
Carved at Tule Lake Internment Center, the tortoise or "Kame" has a long tradition in Japanese folklore. The "kame" represents 10,000 years of life and is often depicted in Japanese art and symbolisms.
Wooden pin, ca. 1943. Artist: Dan Inouye, JC1P 12
Carved at Poston Internment Center, the artist carved this pin depicting a deer and fawn for Amy Inouye Shimada.
Wood carving from tree branch, ca. 1943. Artist: Harry Tsuruda, JC21E 06
Carved at Amache Internment Center, this carving from a tree branch depicts two figures climbing a mountain and another figure sitting at the top.
Cigarette pack holder and toothpick holder, n.d. JC25B 06 and JC25B 07
Made at Tule Lake Internment Center, these items were woven out of an onion sack.
Bridal doll, n.d. Artist: Kimiko Ito, JC25H
Made at Tule Lake Relocation Center.
Embroidered shirt, 1943. Owner: Fusaye Yokoyama, 2001/41
Friends and acquaintances of Fusaye Yokoyama signed the shirt while she was at the Tule Lake Internment Center and then she embroidered over their signatures.
Heart shaped pin, ca. 1943. Artist: Chris Ishii, JC22T 07
Made at Amache Internment Center, the pin is painted with a caricature of "lil' neebo" - meaning little Nisei boy - and was the mascot for the camp.
Paintbrushes used by Harry Tsuruda, JC21D 06
The six paint brushes were used at Amache Internment Center for sumi-e painting and calligraphy
Pen, pencil and holder, ca. 1943. JC22T 02, JC22T 03 and JC22T 04
Made at the Gila River Internment Center. The pen and pencil are made from ironwood and the holder is carved from the Saguaro cactus. The wooden base of the holder is made from wood salvaged from a crate box.
Crocheted purse, ca. 1943. JC1P 23
Made at the Gila River Internment Center. The wooden handles are painted with a scene from the Gila River camp.
Corsage pin made of shells, n.d., JC25B 04
Made at the Tule Lake Internment Center
Flower making tools used by Kotono Kato, JC25S
Used at Amache Internment Center. The flower making tools were bought from Japan ca. 1928 and the entire set includes 25 iron makers, 5 cast iron flower molds, 1 cast iron base, 1 bamboo plate, 2 bamboo tubes, 1 long tweezer, 1 homemade holemaker, 1 ruler. Also included is one white, paper flower petal,
Sen Nin Bari vest, ca. 1944. Owner: George Matsushita, JC3B 01
The vest was sent by Matsushita's mother from the Amache Internment Center while he was a member of Company "I", 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The term "Sen nin bari" literally means 1,000 knots sewn by people, but in a real sense the many knots were sewn by women into sashes, shirts, vests and other items. It is said that each knot represents its maker's wish for the wearer's everlasting fortune in war. This vest was worn by Matsushita during many of his battles in Italy during World War II.
Wallet, ca. 1943. Artist: Eizuchi Tsujikawa, JC1P 11
Made at the Tule Lake Internment Center, this leather folding wallet has the design of Tule Lake carved into the front.
WRA Pin,. n.d. Owner: Lilly Hirota, JC22 47
This pin was issued by the War Relocation Authority and owned by Lilly Hirota while she was interned at Tule Lake Internment Center.