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Hoshida (George) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: George Hoshida papers
    Dates: 1942-1983
    Bulk Dates: 1942-1944
    Collection number: 96.117
    Creator: Hoshida, George, 1907-1985
    Collection Size: 0.75 linear feet
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Abstract: 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.
    Physical location: Japanese American National Museum 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012


    By appointment only. Please Contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).

    Publication Rights

    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).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], George Hoshida papers. 96.117, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Acquisition Information

    In 1996, led by daughters Sandra Hoshida and June Honma, George Hoshida’s family donated his sketchbooks and letters to the permanent collection of the Japanese American National Museum.

    Biography / Administrative History

    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.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection provides insight into the daily lives of a separated family during World War II. Letters from George to his wife illustrate life at Justice Department Camps while Tamae’s letters highlight their daily struggles of life without her husband as she remained in Hilo, Hawai’i. George’s love of drawing comes out in letters to his daughters in which he makes humorous sketches for June in addition to family portraits and sketches of his living conditions for Tamae. Letters in 1943 begin to emphasize the family’s struggle to be reunited after Tamae and the children relocate to Jerome in the hopes that George would join shortly thereafter. The collection contains letters between husband and wife anticipating their reunion as well as letters between family members and official government employees trying to get George paroled and transferred. Petitions filed by George and other Hawai’ian internees separated from loved ones provide insight into the drawn out legal processes involved in transfers to bring families together. There are also handwritten notes kept by George regarding the Hawai’ian internees separated from their families, creating a larger picture of the lives of men and women separated from their loved while interned.
    George’s sketches of camp life and portraits of fellow internees capture a glimpse into everyday life for him while separated from his family. Sketches portray camp landscapes, kitchen scenes, and block meetings. His family portraits following the Hoshida family reunion show family life with small children at camp. They are a valuable visual representation of the daily ups and downs described in George and Tamae’s letters.
    The bulk of the George Hoshida Papers are comprised of these letters and sketches that show the daily struggles of this separated family but also includes government documents that portray regulations applicable to internees as well as civilians in the Territory of Hawai’i. In addition to materials from the war years, the collection also provides some insight into the Evacuations Claims Act of July 2, 1948 through George’s claim and settlement paperwork.


    Items have been arranged chronologically when applicable with undated materials at the end of each series.
    Series 1 : Correspondence
    Subseries 1: Personal
    Subseries 2: Government
    Series 2: Government Documents
    Subseries 1: Interment Camps
    Subseries 2: Territory of Hawaii
    Subseries 3: Regulations and Instructions
    Series 3: Legal Documents
    Subseries 1: Claims
    Subseries 2: Petitions
    Series 4: Miscellaneous
    Subseries 1: Notes
    Subseries 2: Press Clippings
    Subseries 3: Forms
    Series 5: Sketches
    Subseries 1: Sketches by George Hoshida
    Subseries 2: Sketches by Others

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Hoshida, George, 1907-1985
    Japanese Americans
    water color painting
    drawings and graphics
    World War II
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
    Kilauea Military Camp (Hawaii)
    Sand Island U.S. Army Internment Camp (Hawaii)
    Santa Ana Army Air Base (Calif.)
    Fort Sam Houston (Tex.)
    Lordsburg Internment Camp (N.M.)
    Santa Fe Internment Camp (N.M.)
    Justice Department Camps, Santa Fe
    Jerome Relocation Center (Ark.)
    Gila River Relocation Center

    Related Material

    97.106, George Hoshida Drawings. Digital Surrogates are available on the Japanese American National Museum’s Website.
    2002.166.1, George Hoshida Drawing. Color ink drawing of Lordsburg Hospital.
    NRC.2005.95.1, Life of a Japanese Immigrant Boy in Hawai'i by George Hoshida.