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Japanese Farm Survey for Defense Records
2007.11  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains information collected during two surveys of Japanese farmers in the Los Angeles area in 1940 and 1942. The first survey relates to farms along major power transmission lines and aqueducts (1940) and the second to farms in Los Angeles County (1942). A few letters, some notes, and a color coordinated key are also included.
Background
The work for the first survey (1940) was requested by the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commission, and carried out by department inspectors Charles Yerxa, Harry Perkins, and Frank Woods. Inspections were made at 147 properties, primarily Japanese, though other “resident aliens” surveyed included Germans, Italians, Filipinos, and Chinese. The inspectors were instructed to obtain information by asking casual and indirect questions and made notes about the people they interviewed, usually commenting on how intelligent the interviewees seemed or that the individuals did not seem suspicious of the questioning. It was concluded in a December 8, 1941 letter that 80-90% of farms owned by Japanese individuals were being run by non-citizens. The survey was forwarded to a Mr. Ryan the day after Pearl Harbor, and this information was included at the beginning of a second survey conducted in January 1942. There is less information about the second survey, and there are no maps to explain what the key letters (A-R) correspond to. The second survey contains much more detailed and personal information about the people working at each farm (including names, ages, genders, citizenship, registration numbers, ports of entry, etc) as well as financial information, crop details, and projections for the future of each farm.
Extent
2 linear feet (2 boxes)
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management and Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).
Availability
By appointment only. Please contact the Collections Management and Access Unit (collections@janm.org). Advanced notice is required.