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Akamine and Fuchita Family Papers

Identifier: SPC-2018-045

Scope and Contents

The Akamine and Fuchita Family Papers (circa 1880-December 20, 1996) contains 2.51 linear feet and 209 mb of letters, certificates, oral histories, yearbooks, scrapbooks, photographs, and other ephemera related to the Akamine, Fuchita, and Yasumura families. The collection mostly focuses on the Fuchita family, who moved from Japan to the United States around 1916. The collection documents their time in Japan, California, the Manzanar incarceration camp, and their lives after camp.

The first box in the collection relates to school and includes school yearbooks, digitized school yearbooks and diplomas, and certificates. The school yearbooks are from Belmont High School, Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University), and the Rowher incarceration camp. The second box contains letters, family tree information, and material related to the Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles. The rest of the collection includes photographs and oral history interviews. The photos, photo albums, and digitized photo albums include images from Japan, the Manzanar incarceration camp, and World War II era military photographs. It also contains graduation, wedding, and family photographs. The oral history interviews were recorded on DVDS, cassette tapes, and VHS tapes. The interviewees include Joseph Ismau Fuchita, Eric Akamine, and Shizuko Akamine.


  • circa 1880-December 20, 1996

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

The Fuchita Family

Kumantaro Fuchita (1881-1969) moved from Wakayama, Japan to the U.S. when he was 18 years old. His original intention was returning to Japan after a few years of work. While he was working in the U.S., he sent the money that he earned to his brother in Japan, but he discovered that his money was misused and decided to be settled in the U.S, instead. He owned a fish market, “Fresno Fish,” in Fresno, California and his business was successful. He invited Kuni Mary (Yasumura) Fuchita (1891-1967), who was a picture bride, from Japan around 1916. Initially, they were settled in Grand Junction, Colorado, working on a farm, and their children, Chiyoko Jean (1917) and Sakae Frank (1918-2008) were born. Since the farmer’s life was severe, they moved to Los Angeles, renting a house from an African American landlord, and ran a produce stall on the corner of the 3rd Street and Flower Street in Downtown. Their youngest son, Joseph Isamu (1920-2002) was born in Los Angeles. The Issei parents were concerned about lack of supervision for their small children, and Kuni brought all the children to Japan so that their relatives would take care of them: Chiyoko Jean was left with the mother’s side family (Yasumura family) and Sakaye Frank was raised by the father’s side family (Fuchita family). They both spent their early lives in Japan and returned to the U.S. in 1930s. On the other hand, the youngest son, Joseph Isamu, insisted on staying with the parents, and Kuni took him back to the U.S. with her. He grew up in the ethnically diverse communities in Los Angeles, including Virgil, Van Nyys, Hollywood, Norwalk, and Boyle Heights.

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Joseph Isamu was 19 years old and lived in Boyle Heights. In 1942, the Fuchita family was removed from the West Coast and Tokutaro, Kuni, Frank Sakae, and Joseph Isamu were incarcerated in the Manzanar incarceration camp. Since Jean Chiyoko had left for New York prior to the mass removal, she was not incarcerated in a camp. During the incarceration, Joseph Isamu worked as a policeman from midnight through 6 AM, earning 16 dollars a month, while Tokutaro and Kuni worked at a mess hall. Sakae Frank left the camp for Michigan in 1943, Joseph Isamu left for Chicago in 1944, and Tokutaro and Kuni returned to Los Angeles in October 1945 that was a month before the closure of the Manzanar camp.

Sakae Frank and Yasuko Fuchita

Sakae Frank Fuchita attended the Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Berrien Springs, Michigan in 1943 and went on to receive his Master of Arts in Religion from the Seventh-Day Adventist Theological Seminary in 1949. After completing two years at seminary school, he moved to Japan and began his career as a theology teacher and pastor. He taught theology and history at the Japan Missionary College. During his missionary in Japan, he and his wife, Yasuko, had two children, Esther Junko and Joseph Naoru. In 1962, the Fuchita family moved back to the United States. Sakae Frank continued his education at the University of Southern California and received his teaching credential for junior high and high school.

Joseph Isamu and Marjorie Tamiko Fuchita

Joseph Isamu Fuchita left the camp for Chicago to reestablish his life in 1944. Soof after he found a job in Chicago, he was drafted and left for basic training at Camp Balding in September 1944. He was stationed in several locations in Europe and served in the Army over 4 years. Because of his mother’s illness, however, he decided to leave the military and returned to Los Angeles to support the family. Postwar California was uninviting Japanese Americans and he faced discrimination when purchased a house. He finally bought a house in Compton and found a job at a fish market in Downtown which was run by Italian Americans. He met Marjorie Tamiko (Morioka) Fuchita (1923-1980) though their mutual friend, and they married on June 19, 1952 in Alhambra, California. They had two children, Lynn (Fuchita) Akamine (1957-) and Gary Fuchita (1963-)

Morioka Family

Kan’ichi Morioka (1875-1947) was born in Hiroshima, Japan and came to San Francisco, California around 1906. His wife, Yuku Morioka (1876-1957), and son, Tokuichi Fred Morioka (1894-1945), immigrated to the U.S. to join him in 1914. Their Nisei daughter, Mildred Kishino Morioka, was born in 1918. Tokuichi married Asako Nakano and had a daughter, Marjorie Tamiko Morioka, in 1923. Asako, however, died very young around 25 years old, and Tokuichi returned to Hiroshima and remarried. He immigrated to Manchuria and died of illness in 1945 at 51 years old. The rest of the family, Marjorie Tamiko, Kanichi, Yuku, and Mildred, remained in the U.S. and worked on a farm. When the war broke out, the Morioka family was incarcerated in the Rowher incarceration camp. Marjorie Tamiko and her aunt Mildred Kishino left the camp for New York together, and Kan’ichi and Yuku returned to Los Angeles after the war ended.


6 boxes

2.51 Linear Feet

209 Megabytes (<emph render="italic">, 24 PDF files, 157 jpeg files</emph>)

Language of Materials




This collection includes letters, certificates, photographs, scrapbooks, high school yearbooks, oral history interviews, and other material related to the Akamine, Fuchita, and Yasumura families. Subjects in the collection include the Manzanar and Rowher incarceration camps, Koyasan Buddhist Temple, Buddhism, World War II, and other topics. Most of this collection is digitized and available online.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The access files are PDF and JPG files stored on the Public Use Drive. Access to the files is available on-site in the Gerth Archives and Special Collections reading room. Please request copies at the reference desk.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection contains two separate accessions and digital reproductions from the loaned material. The first accession was donated in 2017 by Lynn Akamine. After the first accession, Akamine loaned material to the Archives and Special Collections to be digitized for the CSUJAD project, and digital reproductions were created from the loaned material.

A second accession was also added in 2018, by a different family member, Esther Junko Fuchita. Fuchita donated and loaned material to the Archives. Loaned material was digitized for the CSUJAD project and the digital reproductions were donated to the Archives and Special Collections.

Loaned material has been returned to one of the donors.

Existence and Location of Originals

This collection contains digital reproductions created from loaned material. The donors retained the original items.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some of the collection has been digitized and is available at the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project site: Akamine and Fuchita Family Papers.

Related Materials

This collection is part of the California State University Japanese American Digitization Project. For more information: CSU Japanese American Digitization Project.


English translation, synopses, and brief descriptions for Japanese language materials were provided by Yoko Okunishi.

Processing Information for Digitized Material

The Gerth Archives and Special Collections created digital reproductions from the original material for long-term preservation and access. These preservation files (44.1 Gb, 792 tif files) were scanned to and stored on the Gerth Archives and Special Collections Deparment Drive. For more information on the best practices and standards for the digitization process, please see: CSUJAD Techincal Reference Guide

Processing Information for Physical Material

This collection was processed in 2018 by an Katherine Brunet. It was reprocessed by Jennifer Hill in 2019.

Inventory of the Akamine and Fuchita Family Papers
Katherine Brunet
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • September 2019: Related Material Note, Existence and Location of Originals, Processing Information, Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements, and Immediate Source of Acquisition notes were added to the finding aid. Container information, Abstract, Scope and Content, and Biographical information was also updated during this time by Jennifer Hill.
  • October 2022: Biographical information was updated by Yoko Okunishi.

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747