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Munemitsu-Sasaki family collection

 Collection
Identifier: 2010-012-r

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of papers, photographs, ephemera, and realia from the Munemitsu and Sasaki families, some of the earliest Japanese families to live in Orange County, California. Included in this collection, are documents, photographs, and objects regarding the lives of the families at the turn-of-the-century in the agricultural industry; the incarceration of Munemitsu and Sasaki family members in internment camps in New Mexico, Poston in Arizona and Welby, Colorado; and other material pertaining to their life beyond the war. Notable items include late 1800s and early 1900s photographs of the families, official government and personal documents regarding their incarceration, handcrafted wooden furniture and objects (made at Poston and brought back to California) a period radio (brought to Poston and also brough back home), and handmade Japanese-style kites.

Dates

  • late 1800s-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1920s-1940s

Creator

Language of Materials

The materials in this collection are in English and Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Munemitsu family biographical note

The Munemitsu family immigrated from Japan to the United States in the early 1900s, and became farmers, primarily of strawberries, in Orange County, Southern California. During World War II, various family members were forced to move to Japanese American incarceration camps in New Mexico; Poston, Arizona; and Welby, Colorado. The camp in Welby and certain camps in New Mexico were reserved for political dissidents, of which patriarch Seima Munemitsu was considered, due to the fact he was a highly respected community member back home. During this time the Munemitsus leased their land to the Mendez family, who were later involved in the Mendez vs. Westminster, et al., court case in 1946, which desegregated California public schools. After the war, they returned to their California farms in Westminster. They eventually married into the Sasaki family, another early Japanese American family from Orange County.

Sasaki family biographical note

The Sasaki family immigrated from Japan to the United States in the late 1800s, and became farmers of vegatables, primarily sugar beets, in Orange County, Southern California. During World War II, they were forced to move to a Japanese American incarceration camp in Poston, Arizona, the same camp the Munemitsu family were sent to. During this time, some of the older children were able to gain Indefinite Leave to leave the camps temporarily and work in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Sadly, matriarch Moto Munemitsu passed away during the incarceration. After the war, the family returned to their California farms in Santa Ana. They eventually married into the Munemitsu family, another early Japanese American family from Orange County.

Extent

20 Linear Feet (14 containers total (4 document boxes, 3 flat boxes, 7 record storage cartons) and 34 unboxed objects)

Overview

A collection of photographs, documents, and keepsakes on the Munemitsu and Sasaki families, chronicling their experiences as Japanese Americans in Southern California and as internees in Southwestern incarceration camps.

Arrangement

Arranged by family, then primarily in chronological order. More information in physical arrangement is found in the Series notes.

Physical Location

Leatherby Libraries

Other Finding Aids

Collection 2009-041-r: Seiko Munemitsu and Gonzalo Mendez lease agreements

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Janice Munemitsu (daughter of Saiko Munemitsu and Yone Sasaki), Akiko Nakauchi (daughter of Seima and Masako Munemitsu), and David Nakauchi, starting from April 2010 to July 2013.

Bibliography

Book: Burton, Jeffery F., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Irene J. Cohen. Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011.

Websites: Ancestry. Accessed May 2019. https://www.ancestry.com/.

Densho Encyclopedia. Accessed May 2019. http://encyclopedia.densho.org/.

FamilySearch.org. Accessed May 2019. https://www.familysearch.org/.

“History Colorado”. Homepage. Accessed May 2019. https://www.historycolorado.org/.

"Interning Japanese-Americans - World War II (U.S. National ..." Accessed May 2019. https://home.nps.gov/subjects/worldwarii/internment.htm.

"People." New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Accessed May 2019. http://www.newmexicohistory.org/people/japanese-american-internment-camps-in-new-mexico-1942-1946.

Processing Information

Processed by Rand Boyd in July 2010, and reprocessed by Annie Tang in July 2019. Expanded historical notes researched and written by intern Kathy Morgan in June 2019.

The term "incarceration camps" has purposely been used in replacement of or interchangeably with "internment camps" in information (such as historical notes and abstracts) created by the archives staff, adhering to the preference of Japanese American communities whom these materials represent. Historically, "internment" was the official term used for the forcible incarceration of Japanese Americans based on their ethnicity. The term was used in the original titles of records, papers, and objects, and the description of these titles are left as such to acknowledge historical usage.
Title
Finding aid for the Munemitsu-Sasaki family collection
Status
Completed
Author
Rand Boyd
Date
07/07/2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries Repository

Contact:
Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange 92866 USA US