Japanese American National Museum
Collections & Research

Museum Collections Online

Welcome to the Japanese American National Museum’s Collections Online featuring selected highlights from our permanent collection of over 60,000 unique artifacts, documents, and photographs.



Clara Breed Collection

(93.75.31) The online collection of Clara Breed, or "Miss Breed" as she was known by her young library patrons, includes over 300 letters and cards received by Breed from Japanese American children and young adults during their World War II incarceration.

Items in this collection were featured in the exhibition
Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp

Buddhist Churches of America Collection

(99.201) This online collection of selected panoramas from the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) Archives documents temple events, national conferences, and other gatherings from the 1920s through the 1940s throughout the organization's eight districts.

Hideo Date Collection

(99.111) The online collection of New York City-based artist Hideo Date (1907-2004) dates from the 1930s to 2004 and includes 178 drawings, prints and paintings.

Items in this collection were featured in the exhibition
Living in Color: The Art of Hideo Date

Stanley Hayami Diary

(95.226) Stanley Hayami (1925-1945) was a student from Los Angeles who attended high school at the Heart Mountain Concentration Camp in Wyoming. Hayami left Heart Mountain in June 1944 to join the U.S. Army and was killed in combat in Northern Italy on April 23, 1945, while trying to help a fellow soldier. He was nineteen years old. This diary, which Hayami kept from 1941 to 1944, records a spectrum of youthful dreams of becoming an artist-writer and doubts ranging from the quality of his schoolwork to the meaning of democracy. The diary also includes pen and ink drawings by Hayami. (View diary through the Online Archive of California.)

Hisako Hibi Collection

(96.601, 98.138, 99.63) Includes sixty-three oil paintings painted by artist Hisako Hibi at Tanforan Assembly Center in California and Topaz concentration camp in Utah from 1942 to 1945. Subjects include various daily activities, still lifes, and landscapes.

Items in this collection were featured in the exhibition
A Process of Reflection: Paintings by Hisako Hibi

George Hoshida Collection

(96.117)(97.106) The online collection of George Hoshida (1907-1985) includes 260 drawings and watercolors drawn from his visual diary covering his incarceration for the duration of World War II in the Kilauea Military Camp and Sand Island in Hawai'i, in Justice Department internment camps at Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in WRA camps in Jerome, Arkansas and Gila River, Arizona.

Items in this collection were featured in the exhibition
The Life and Work of George Hoshida: A Japanese American's Journey

Estelle Ishigo Collection

(94.195) The online collection of Estelle Peck Ishigo (1899-1990) covers life in the Pomona detention center in California and in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming camp during World War II. Includes 120 drawings, sketches, and watercolors.

Jack Iwata Collection

(93.102) The online collection of photographer Jack Iwata includes 166 photographs and copy negatives taken at Manzanar and Tule Lake concentration camps between 1942 and 1945.

Barbara Kawakami Collection

(92.12, 94.275, 97.263, 99.235, 2004.1, 2006.166, 2008.95) This online collection of textiles and other artifacts from late 19th century through the 20th century was gathered by author and scholar Barbara Kawakami primarily in Hawaii. It is the most significant collection of Issei (first generation Japanese) immigration and plantation clothing in the world. A sample of the collection is currently available online with further additions in the near future.

Items in this collection were featured in the exhibition
Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing from the Plantations of Hawai`i

Toyo Miyatake Studio / Rafu Shimpo Collection

(96.267) This online collection is a selection from over 9,500 negatives and photographs taken by the photographers of the Toyo Miyatake Studio for the Los Angeles-based Rafu Shimpo, one of the oldest and most widely read Japanese American newspapers in the country, documents Los Angeles' Japanese American community from 1950 to 1988.

Walter Muramoto Collection

(97.292). This collection of 361 black and white photographs taken by Walter Muramoto depict daily life in camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. Muramoto and his family were incarcerated in Rohwer from 1942 to 1945.

Benji Okubo Collection

(2003.159, 2005.3) The online collection of artist Benji Okubo (1904-1975) features sixteen paintings dating from Okubo's prolific period of the late 1920s to the mid-1940s, including several works created in Heart Mountain concentration camp, Wyoming. While Okubo's pre-war pieces demonstrate a unique blend of color juxtaposition and surrealism, his works completed in camp are notable for their commentary on militarism, isolation and political upheaval fused with a mythic sensibility.

Mine Okubo Collection

(2007.62) This online collection of 197 drawings by artist Mine Okubo (1912-2001) illustrates her life in the Tanforan assembly center in San Bruno, CA and the Topaz concentration camp in Utah during World War II. Okubo's drawings served as the basis for her renowned book, "Citizen 13660", which was printed in 1946 and was the first personal account published on the camp experience.

Mori Shimada Collection

(92.10.2). This collection, originally in scrapbook form, features 108 photographs of friends, family, and social and sporting events in Heart Mountain concentration camp taken by Mori Shimada between 1942 and 1945.

Henry Sugimoto Collection

(92.97) The online collection of Henry Sugimoto (1900-1990) includes 137 paintings dating from the 1930s to the 1950s. Sugimoto's works depict Arkansas, California, New York, Mexico, and France. His paintings of Fresno detention center in central California and Jerome and Rohwer concentration camps in Arkansas illustrate clearly his feelings about internment.

Items in this collection were featured in the exhibition
Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience



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