Scope and Content
Organization and Arrangement
Title: Karl G. Yoneda papers
Date (inclusive): 1892-1998, bulk 1925-1989
Collection number: 1592
Yoneda, Karl G., 1906-1999
46 document boxes (23 linear feet)
3 oversize boxes
1 map folder
Abstract: Karl G. Yoneda was a Kibei-nisei, born in Glendale, California in 1906 and stayed in Japan between 1913 and 1926. He returned
to the United States in 1927 and joined the American Communist Party. During World War II, Yoneda was incarcerated in the
Manzanar War Relocation Center and volunteered to join the Military Intelligence Service Language School from the camp. He
served for the China-Burma-India Theater as a member of the Psychological Warfare Team, the United States Office of War Information.
Starting in the late 1960s, Yoneda gave lectures and talks at various classes and programs of academic institutions in the
West Coast and Hawaii and authored publications in English and Japanese. The collection consists of materials related to Yoneda's
involvement in the Japanese American left and labor movement, World War II internment, and the United States Military services.
Includes original manuscripts, publications, correspondence, photographs, and photocopied testimonies and investigation case
Language: Collection is predominantly in English and Japanese; materials in Chinese, Korean, Burmese, Russian, and Esperanto are included.
University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections
for paging information.
Restrictions on Access
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library
Special Collections for paging information.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the
creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright
owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of Karl G. Yoneda, 1990.
[Identification of item], Karl G. Yoneda papers (Collection 1592). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research
Processed by Yoko Okunishi in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli,
Megan Fraser, and Jillian Cuellar, 2011-2012.
Karl G. Yoneda was born in Glendale, California in 1906 to Japanese immigrant parents. Because of his father's illness, the
Yoneda family left the United States for Japan in 1913. During his stay in Japan, Yoneda received his education and was influenced
by left-wing and socialist ideas. Escaping from Japanese conscription, he returned alone to the United States in 1926. In
the United States he joined the American Communist Party, which launched his career as a labor and union organizer. As a longshoreman
by trade, he was affiliated with the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU), and also served as the
vice president and delegate of the Congress of Industrial Organizations Alaskan Cannery Workers Union. He was an editor of
労働新聞 Rōdō Shinbun [= Japanese labor news] in San Francisco, an official newspaper of the Japanese section of the American
Communist Party, and a contributor to 同胞 Dōhō, a Japanese American leftist newspaper (a broad united front progressive paper)
published in Los Angeles. He was also a poet, publishing poems under several pseudonyms.
During World War II, Yoneda and his wife, Elaine Black Yoneda, were interned in the Manzanar War Relocation Center in Independence,
California. During incarceration, he served as a block manager and also formed the Manzanar Citizens Federation, which consisted
of pro-American and pro-communist internees. Its purpose was to improve camp conditions, initiate leadership education, participate
in war efforts, and prepare evacuees for postwar life. In the camp, he volunteered to join the Military Intelligence Service
Language School and was enlisted in the Psychological Warfare Team, the United States Office of War Information (OWI), and
served for the China-Burma-India Theater.
Starting in the late 1960s, Yoneda gave lectures and talks in various classes and programs of academic institutions on the
West Coast and in Hawaii. He also authored publications in English and Japanese. In 1999, Yoneda passed away at age 92 in
Fort Bragg, California.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of materials related to Karl Yoneda's involvement in the Japanese American left and labor movement,
World War II internment, and the United States Military services. It includes original manuscripts, publications, correspondence,
photographs, and photocopied testimonies and investigation case files. Of note are leaflets and newspapers published and distributed
by the Japanese Bureau of the American Communist Party, leftist groups, and labor union members between 1923 and 1939. The
materials were distributed among Japanese communities in California, Seattle, Alaska, New York, Hawaii, Canada, Japan, and
Shanghai for various purposes, including to call for community participation internationally in the political fight against
Japanese imperialism and in the support of communists and the Soviet Union, and to advocate improvement of working conditions
and higher wages of local labor workers in California.
The collection also contains materials related to the internment of Yoneda and his wife, Elaine Black Yoneda, in the Manzanar
War Relocation Center. Materials Yoneda collected immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 depict
the anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States, while the materials written by Yoneda and/or the Japanese American community
groups express their faithful allegiance to the United States. During incarceration, Yoneda served as a block manager as well
as a member of the Manzanar Citizens Federation; as a result, this collection also contains Yoneda's reports and letters describing
the camp conditions, its organization and administration structure, jobs and wages, activities, and programs.
Propaganda materials included in the collection consist of 伝単 dentan [= airborne leaflets], newspapers, pamphlets, and a military
song book produced by the United States Psychological Warfare Team, Office of War Information. The purpose of propaganda materials
was to call on Japanese soldiers to surrender in the China-Burma-India Theater between 1944 and 1945.
Most of the collection is written in English and Japanese; some Japanese texts are attached with an English synopsis and annotations.
A small portion of materials are written in Chinese, Korean, Burmese, and Russian.
Organization and Arrangement
Arranged in the following series:
- Communist/Labor Union Activities
- World War II Internment
- Military Service of Japanese Americans
- Manuscripts, Publications, and Lectures
- Japanese American/Canadian Redress and Reparations
- Investigation Case Files
- Japanese American Citizens League
- Personal Memorabilia
- Political Subject Files
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Yoneda, Karl G., 1906- --Archives.
Manzanar War Relocation Center.
United States. Office of War Information.
Military Intelligence Service Language School (U.S.).
International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union.
Alaska Cannery Workers Association.
Communist Party of the United States of America.
Journalists--United States--Archival resources.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945--Archival resources.
Genres and Forms of Material