Tsugitada Kanamori Collection
Scope and Content
The Tsugitada Kanamori Collection (1942-1958) contains one box of correspondence, memorandums, and other material regarding Kanamori’s life during and directly after World War II. The majority of the documents detail Kanamori’s efforts to cancel his renunciation and reinstate his American citizenship, including correspondence from his lawyer, Wayne M. Collins. Also included are documents regarding Kanamori’s health, letters of recommendations from employers, a letter regarding Kanamori’s employment in the Tule Lake Cooperative Enterprises at the Tule Lake Segregation Center, census registers, and Kanamori’s birth certificate. Some material is in Japanese.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
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.
Tsugitada Kanamori (1922-unknown) was born in Port Hueneme, California to Jinsuke and Michi Kanamori. In 1942, Tsugitada registered for the draft and was classified 4-C (enemy alien). He was living in Compton, California when he was evacuated to Poston Incarceration Camp in Parker, Arizona, before being sent to Tule Lake Incarceration Center in early 1944. While at Tule Lake, Kanamori married Kazuko Miyamoto in March 1944. In December 1944, Tsugitada and his wife applied for repatriation, influenced by his parents and in-laws who were fearful of being separated from each other and who also believed that because they were not natural born United States citizens that they, along with their children, would all be deported to Japan eventually- regardless of citizenship status. Tsugitada also thought that repatriation would be his best option due to the pressure he felt from within Tule Lake from Pro-Japanese groups, confusion regarding the loyalty questionnaire, and also due to his fear that being sent to another camp might cause his family to be met with more hostility. After being deported to Japan, Tsugitada worked in Yokohama, Japan, operating and maintaining ordnance vehicles and engineering equipment, and soon thereafter he began the process of getting his United States citizenship reinstated with the help from his attorney, Wayne M. Collins. On May 19, 1958, Tsugitada received notification that his renunciation had been cancelled, and his U.S. citizenship was reinstated.
Tule Lake History
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which gave the military the authority to exclude any citizen who posed a threat to national security. As a result, approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were removed and incarcerated in concentration camps. The Tule Lake Incarceration Center was the largest of the ten concentration camps with approximately 18,000 prisoners, and was located close to the California-Oregon border near the town of Newell, California and 10 miles south of the town of Tulelake. On February 8, 1943, the War Department and War Relocation Authority (WRA) distributed a questionnaire in order to assess the loyalty of those housed in concentration camps. The questionnaire was difficult and complex, which led to uncertainty and confusion. Failure to complete the questionnaire, as well as questions answered in an unsatisfactory manner caused a great number of incarcerees to be deemed “disloyal” and sent to Tule Lake Segregation Center- the designated location “disloyal” incarcerees.
On July 1, 1944 Public Law 405 also known as the Denaturalization Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt, allowing any citizen to renounce their United States citizenship. This, along with the announcement in December 1944 that incarceration camps would close within a year, left incarcerees faced with many difficult decisions about their future. Many incarcerees imprisoned at Tule Lake felt that renunciation would be their best option due to a variety of reasons. Some believed that renunciation would allow them to remain in Tule Lake until the war was over, while others believed that if they didn’t renounce they would be separated from their families- especially if Issei were deported. Others felt pressure from pro-Japanese groups, or renounced in anger over how they were treated by the United States government. This was problematic because once an incarceree renounced, it became difficult to reverse that decision.
While visiting Tule Lake in July 1945, Wayne M. Collins, an attorney based out of San Francisco, California was alerted to the renunciants’ predicament in regards to the Denaturalization Act. Believing the Denaturalization Act to be unconstitutional, Collins assisted renunciants by preparing sample letters to the U.S. attorney general asking for their United States citizenship to be reinstated, citing coercion and duress as a main factor. In September 1945, renunciants formed the Tule Lake Defense Committee and hired Collins as their attorney. On November 13, 1945, Collins was able to stop a mass deportation two days before it was set to begin by filing for habeas corpus and obtaining a court order, which forbade deportation. As a result, starting in December 1945, the Department of Justice agreed to hearings for those who did not want to be deported and were also willing to provide an explanation why. Collins worked for over fourteen years to rescind deportation, void renunciation, and reinstate U.S. citizenship for thousands of Japanese-Americans.
.21 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
This collection contains one box of documents belonging to Tsugitada Kanamori. Materials in this collection mostly pertain to Kanamori’s efforts regarding cancelling his renunciation and reinstating his American citizenship. This collection has been digitized and is available online.
Arranged in 1 box.
- Collins, Wayne M.
- Concentration Camps -- United States
- Japanese Americans
- Japanese Americans -- California
- Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
- Japanese Americans -- Pacific States -- History -- 20th century
- Newell (Calif.)
- Poston (Ariz.)
- Poston Incarceration Camp
- Tule Lake Relocation Center (Calif.)--1940-1950
- Tulelake (Calif.)
- World War, 1939-1945 -- California
- Yokohama-shi (Japan)
- Inventory of the Tsugitada Kanamori Collection
- Finding aid prepared by Karen Clemons
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description