Oregon Nikkei History

Sharing and preserving Japanese American history and culture

On this site we highlight photos from our historical collection housed at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland's Old Town neighborhood, as well as other information about history and Japanese Americans in Oregon. Please visit www.oregonnikkei.org to learn more about the Oregon Nikkei Endowment and its programs.
Posts tagged "internment"

Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Members of the staff and volunteer helpers reassemble a privately owned Japanese typewriter to be used for the Japanese languge edition of the Heart Mountain Sentinel, Center newspaper. The paper is wrapped around the rubber cylinder, the typist pushes the roller riding platten over the bed of type. After picking the next character, a lever is operated which picks up the type, presses it against the paper and replaces it in its niche. Complicated in appearance and operation, due to the short hand characteristics of Japanese writing, the advance of thought is nearly equal in speed to a standard English typewriter.  1/13/1943

Tom Parker, photographer.  From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority

(via todaysdocument)


Tule Lake Relocation Center near Newell, Calif., 1942 or 43. Women at the Japanese American relocation camps of World War II, photographer unknown. 

(via roses-and-railways)

Woodblock print made in the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho by Marian Hara of Portland, Oregon, an art student of Fumi Haraguchi Kato at Hunt High School.

Sahomi Tachibana performs on stage at the Topaz, Utah, internment camp in 1944.

Woodblock print made in the Minidoka internment camp by an art student of Fumi Haraguchi Kato at Hunt High School. The print shows a few of the boys in camp playing basketball near the barracks.


A Japanese family returning home (Seattle, Washington) from a relocation center camp in Hunt, Idaho on May 10, 1945

Wooden tea tray with ink drawing of barracks and Castle Rock at the Tule Lake internment camp. “Presented to Minoru Yasui” is written in Japanese.

Woodblock print made in the Minidoka internment camp by Betty Jane Michikami, an art student of Fumi Haraguchi Kato at Hunt High School during World War II.

Nisei dance student performance, Topaz Relocation Center, 1944

Minidoka Relocation Center residents, 1945

The residents of Block 37 in Minidoka in 1945. This photo donor’s mother is seated in the second row, and his father is standing in the third row. The donor speculates that this photo was taken near the closing of the Minidoka camp since there are so few people shown.

Dance performance at Tule Lake, 1942

Sahomi Tachibana performing the dance “Tomoyakko” as a male character. This photo was taken at the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in 1942, where Sahomi was initially incarcerated. She was later transferred to the Topaz camp in Utah.

Sahomi had studied dance in Japan before World War II but returned to the States just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She started teaching dance in the camps and also staged performances with her students.

Woodblock print of Hunt, Idaho

A woodblock print made in the Minidoka internment camp by a Japanese American art student of Fumi Haraguchi Kato at Hunt High School during World War II. The artist here has depicted the barbed wire fence around the camp, something which is rarely seen in photographs.

Hunt Hi-Lites Vol. 2, No. 7

Page 2 of the January 7, 1944, issue of the Hunt Hi-Lites, the Hunt High School newspaper printed at the Minidoka Relocation Center, where many Japanese Americans from the Pacific Northwest spent much of World War II. This page contains a gossip column which, as the first issue of the new year, also mentions New Year’s resolutions. Here is the gossip column, printed in full:


The beginning of the new year is the time when we make—and break resolutions. We create them on the first of the new year, but after that we find that everyone of our fixed proposals are all shot to pieces. This year, let’s all of us turn over a bright new leaf and determine to stick to our resolutions until the very end.

This snooping fem reporter had made a sensational discovery—a second Frank Sinatra is in the midst of the Hunt High school student body. Paul Hiromura, take a bow! When Paul “Sinatra” sings “All or Nothing At All,” he really knocks the girls for a loop. Maybe soon, the talent scouts will be looking for a second PAUL HIROMURA….Hey boys ever see SHIZ OCHIAI play basketball? She’s really spectacular! Watch her play sometimes, boys, and you’ll know we’re not “talking through our hats”….Ever since LOUIE KOZU got a k.d. to a certain Sophomore lassie he’s been walking “knee-deep in stardust”….TAK ISEFUKU, don’t try to squirm out of this one! You must know the miss that sits in the 4th row, 1st seat, 5th and 6th period Junior Core…..Hmm, you know, We’be [sic] been wondering long and hard why HIRO YONEYAMA always tramps up to Block 16-5-D. Ahem! Now we know, don’t we?…MARK HASEGAWA (sigh) is quite a guy, they tell me. (“they” meaning the fairer sex)….Lucky FRANK SASAKI has all the girls swooning over him since Arthur Murray taught him dancing (in a hurry?) via U.S. Mail….Our hats off to the Girls Club for presenting such an enjoyable assembly recently—How about another performance sometimes in the very near future?

Oh yes, girls! I nearly forgot to mention this, but it’s leap year again. Here’s hoping you ketch the right fella!! The year has just begun, So—let’s not cho-ku-chi.

Topaz internment camp dance performance, 1944

Sahomi Tachibana performing on stage at the Topaz camp in Utah, 1944. She had had studied Nihon Buyo in Japan before the war, but returned to the United States in November of 1941, just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Sahomi began her teaching career in camp, first at Tule Lake and then at Topaz, sharing her love of dance and putting on grand performances with her students.

After the war Sahomi moved to New York where she became an internationally recognized dancer. She later settled in Portland, Oregon,

Minidoka art show

Arts and crafts show at the Minidoka internment camp, circa 1943. Many of the Japanese American residents passed the time in camp by making furniture, artwork, and crafts out of found materials.