Itsuhei Takano camp journal
Scope and Contents
The Itsuhei Takano Camp Journal consists of seven volumes of his accounts of his experiences during World War II and other items, such as several issues from Gila River Co-op newsletters that include his essays, and Japanese translations of two English announcements presumably made by Captain Hideo Hiraide, the Imperial Japanese Navy, addressing citizens in the United States. The journal chronicles the events and incidents that he observed and/or heard, and the issues that drew his attention, along with his own opinions, views, and interpretations on them.
Volume 1 and 2 are titled as “Ne mo ha mo karete = After roots and leaves dried” and cover from the time when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, during the mass removal from the West Coast and incarceration in the Santa Anita Assembly Center, and the time when being transferred to the Gila River camp and imprisoned in the camp. Volume 1 details the confusions, turmoil, fears, and resentments among the Japanese American community when they were being removed from the West Coast under the turbulent circumstances where the U.S. government orders were rudderless and changing daily. At the Santa Anita Assembly Center, he was in one of the last groups who were transferred to assigned incarceration camps, his journal describes the Santa Anita until it was nearly closed. Volume 2 documents his life in the Gila River camp from October 18, 1942 through January 1944, covering a variety of issues and subjects.
Volume 3, “1944-nen yori 45-nen ni itaru Hira kansoroku” is a collection of his essays documenting his thoughts on various issues during his incarceration in the Gila River camp. It covers from January 1944 through August 7, 1945 when he left the Gila River camp.
Volume 4, which is titled as “Garakutabako: 1944-nen Hira,” was written during his recuperation for tonsillitis. He coughed blood and was hospitalized in the Gila River camp in January 1945. He felt as if he was facing death and thought of many issues from the edge of death. After he recovered from the illness, he continued writing. This volume is also a collection of his essays on a variety of subjects written from January 1945 through January 1946, including the time after he returned from the Gila River camp to Los Angeles, California.
Volume 5 and 6, “Demademashu,” are a chronicle of rumors and false information which were spread among the Japanese American community as well as the government propagandas which misled the society during the war.
Volume 7, “Rafu manroku,” chronicles from the time when he was released from the incarceration camp though the postwar period. It details his trip from the Gila River camp, Arizona to Los Angeles, California, and describes what he observed and thought when he learned of the surrender of Imperial Japan, and documents the postwar lives of the Japanese American incarcerees in Los Angeles when WRA camps were closed.
His journal details the Nisei’s reactions, that were fears, confusions, and untrust for the U.S. government when WRA and the War Department started registration of adult incarcerees in the camps in February 1943, that is known as the loyalty questionnaire. He was exasperated that while the Nisei citizens were stigmatized as enemies, imprisoned without legal processes, and their human rights were infringed, the government demanded the Nisei to fulfill the citizen’s obligations by joining the U.S. military. He strongly opposed the government decision on imprisonment of the Nisei who were citizens, criticizing the government that the decision was not made for anyone’s safety in the country but solely driven by the racial discrimination which had been prevalent in the country.
The Nisei and Kibei Nisei were citizens and had been serving for the country. He expressed his vexation for the fact that they were treated as enemies. Especially, the Kibei Nisei were targeted by the government because of their education and experience in Japan, which appeared suspicious to the government. He argued that their background would strengthen their understanding of two countries and should have been applauded because they would have been able to promote the foreign relationship between two countries. They should have been the country’s treasures instead of enemies. “No mo ha mo karete,” or “After roots and leaves have died,” is his expression for resentment and deploration from the Issei immigrants: The Nisei and Kibei Nisei were their successors in the country that they had made every effort to grow. The mass removal and incarceration completely exterminated their prosperity.
- 1941 December 7-1946 March 19
- Takano, Itsuhei, 1887-1967 (Author, Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is predominantly in Japanese.
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 the Gerth Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Gerth Archives and 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.
Biographical / Historical
Itsuhei Takano (1887 October 23-1967 January 3) was born in Yamashina, Japan on October 23, 1887 and ventured to the United Sates when he was 19. He met Tomeyo Kodama in California, who was also an Issei immigrant from Yamaguchi, Japan, and they married on August 23, 1913. They resided in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California since 1914 and had six children, Fumio Fred Takano, Akiko Nakashima, Seiji Takano, Mariko Hirashima, Kiyoshi Takano, and Hideo Takano. Itsuhei Takano was a retailer and operated a vegetable produce business at 5014 Eagle Rock Boulevard in Los Angeles since 1938 and continued it until the war interrupted.
When the exclusion order forced him to sell his business, it was sold to the lessor for $50.00, which he had purchased for $500.00. There was a verbal agreement between the lessor and him promising that the lessor would sell the business back to him for $50.00 when he returned. However, the business had been sold to another person when he was released from the incarceration camp, and he was not able to regain it. In the journal, he recounts that many of the Japanese made verbal agreements with their lessors prior to incarceration just because they believed that the war would end soon and their lives would be resumed immediately.
While preparing for the exclusion order, his Caucasian neighbor friend, Mrs. Parker, supported the family and managed his property during incarceration. He and his son, Fumio Fred, tried to keep all the family physically together and nine of the family members were moved to the Santa Anita Assembly Center at once, which imprisoned the largest number of the Japanese Americans and was operated for the longest time among all the assembly centers. He was in one of the last groups who were transferred to assigned incarceration camps and was sent to the Gila River camp in Arizona in October 1942. His journal describes the Santa Anita until it was nearly closed.
At the Gila River camp, he was a representative from his block and actively involved in Co-ops. He was appointed to the Director for the Gila River Co-op and also a contributor to the Co-op newsletter in which his essays were published. In January 1945, he coughed blood and was hospitalized in the camp because of tonsillitis. He left the camp in August 1945 after all his family members had left to reestablish their new lives outside the camp, and his nearly three years long incarceration ended.
After he was released from the camp, he returned to his house in Los Angeles, California. Since he lost his retailer business, he decided to reestablish his life as a gardener, and he was almost 60 years old by the time. He continued residing in Los Angeles and passed away on January 3, 1967.
Although the journal starts from the time of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, he started writing it while he was incarcerated in the Gila River incarceration camp, that was nearly a year after the event. He was aware of the importance to document what had been happening to the Japanese Americans when the war between the U.S. and Japan was declared. All Japanese books and documents, however, had been burnt to avoid unwanted attention from the FBI, and the turmoil situations prevented him from recording anything in Japanese. While he was incarcerated in the Gila River camp, he started recollecting what he observed, experienced, and thought from the time of the Attack on Pearl Harbor and during the mass removal and incarceration. He continued documenting his journal after being released from incarceration, and the journal covers his postwar life. Although he did not intend to publish it, he anticipated that it could become a historical record at some point and intentionally wrote it for the general public.
.42 Linear Feet (1 document box)
1 box (.42 linear feet)
The collection is comprised of seven volumes of the author's accounts from the time of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, during the mass removal and incarceration, and after being released from the Gila River camp. The collection documents his observation and thoughts on a variety issues during the war and the postwar time. Also included are some issues from the Gila River Co-op newsletters, which contain his essays, and Japanese translations of two English announcements presumably made by Captain Hideo Hiraide, Imperial Japanese Navy, addressing citizens in the United States. All materials in this collection are digitized and available at the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project site; and also reproduced in a print format which are available at the Archives Reading Room.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was brought by Alan Nakashima, who is the oldest among Itsuhei Takano's grandchildren, on April 4, 2019. He agreed to donate its digital surrogates to the Gerth Archives and Special Collections and participate in the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project. The collection was loaned for digitization and the scanning process was completed by the Archives staff in November 2019. The collection was returned to the donor's sister, Linda Nakashima, on December 3, 2019.
Existence and Location of Originals
Itsuhei Takano is the original owner and author of this journal. The journal was given to his youngest son, Hideo Takano, when he passed away. When Hideo Takano was stationed in Japan as a U.S. Army civilian worker in the 1970s, he brought the journal with him and tried to get it translated. He talked to many people in Japan, however, his attempt was not successful. It appeared to them that the journal records an ordinary Japanese man's day to day activities and does not have value. Alan Nakashima, who is the oldest among Itsuhei Takano's grandchildren, received a copy of the journal from Kiyoshi Takano, and conducted research on his family history. The original item was held by Kiyoshi Takano until his passing or his late age, but whether the original still exists or not is unknown.
Existence and Location of Copies
The entire collection has been digitized. Digital reproduction access files are available at the CSU Japanese American Project site: Itsuhei Takano Camp Journal Digital Collection
Digital reproduction preservation files are 16.8 GB (1,143 TIFF files) and saved on the Gerth Archives and Special Collections department drive.
English translations are provided by the CSUDH translation contractor, Makiko Nakasone, and available at the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project site: Itsuhei Takano Camp Journal Digital Collection
The collection was processed by Yoko Okunishi.
The Gerth Archives and Special Collections created digital reproductions from original items for long-term preservation and electronic access, adhering to best practice and standards to ensure the authenticity, integrity, and security of material. For more information on digitization process, please see: CSU Japanese American Digitization Project: technical reference guide.
The entire collection has been digitized and an access copy (print) was created. The print access copy is available at the reading room. The set of digital reproduction preservation files is 16.8 GB (1,143 TIFF files) and stored on the Gerth Archives and Special Collections' department drive for preservation purposes. The set of digital reproductions access files created for the digital management system is 280.7 MB (32 PDF files) and stored on the Gerth Archives and Special Collections' department external drive for staff use.
- Gila River Incarceration Camp
- Immigrants -- United States -- History -- 20th century
- Japan -- Emigration and immigration -- History
- Japanese -- California, Southern -- History
- Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
- Santa Anita Assembly Center (Calif.)
- United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, Japanese
- Yoko Okunishi
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description