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Hoshida (George) Papers
96.117  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
George Hoshida (1907-1985) was an incarcerated artist who documented camp life with pencil and brushwork in a series of notebooks he kept between 1942 and 1945. This collection largely consists of correspondence between George and his wife, Tamae, after he was separated from his family and intern at various Justice Department Camps. It also includes legal documents, government documents, notes, and sketches.
Background
George Hoshida was born in Japan in 1907. In 1912, at the age of four, he immigrated with his family to Hilo, Hawai'i. It is important to note Hoshida's age when he made the journey across the Pacific. Although his entire adolescence and adulthood was spent in Hawai'i, Hoshida was forbidden by law to become a naturalized citizen. Unlike migrants from Europe, immigrants from Asia were restricted from naturalization because of race until 1952. A self-educated man, Hoshida's formal education ended when he graduated from junior high school (he received his GED after the war). Hoshida then went on to work for the Hilo Electric Light Company, married and started a family. He was also involved in his Buddhist temple and had a keen interest in Judo. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hoshida was considered "potentially dangerous" due to his community involvement. Although he professed little interest in international politics, the practice of his Buddhist faith, his leadership in his temple, and his interest in Judo deemed him "suspicious." Hoshida was first incarcerated in Kilauea Military Camp and then Sand Island in Hawai'i, and then subsequently taken to the Justice Department camps at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and Lordsburg and Santa Fe in New Mexico. During the first two years of his incarceration, Hoshida was separated from his wife, Tamae, and four daughters, Taeko, June, Sandra, and Carole. Taeko was severely disabled and remained institutionalized in Hawai'i when the rest of the family was sent to the War Relocation Authority concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas in the hopes of reuniting. Hoshida was finally able to join his family in Jerome and the family was later transferred together to the camp at Gila River. Sadly, Taeko died in Hawai'i before her family was able to return. While Hoshida was incarcerated, he cultivated a long-time interest in drawing. He filled notebooks with drawings and watercolors of his time behind barbed wire. He drew portraits of fellow inmates, depicted scenes of daily activities, sketched the surrounding camp environment, and used his skills to teach other inmates. His detailed visual diary provides an extensive and personal record of his experiences. Hoshida drew for his own consumption, but his carefully preserved drawings and watercolors help us reconstruct this critical time in American history. In December 1945, Hoshida and his family returned home to Hilo, Hawai'i. In 1959, Hoshida, along with his wife and daughter Carole, resettled in Los Angeles where he worked as a deputy clerk in the municipal court. His daughters June and Sandra would later relocate to Los Angeles. After retiring, Hoshida returned to Hawai'i where he wrote and published an autobiography entitled, Life of a Japanese Immigrant Boy in Hawai’i. George Hoshida died in 1985.
Extent
0.75 linear feet
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).
Availability
By appointment only. Please Contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).