David Hisato and Tamaki Tsubokura Yamate papers, 1942-1968

Overview of the Collection

Yamate, David Hisato, 1925-1989
David Hisato and Tamaki Tsubokura Yamate papers
1942-1968 (inclusive)
4 linear feet, (9 boxes)
Collection Number
MS 0680
The David Hisato and Tamaki Tsubokura Yamate papers (1942-1968) contain correspondence, business and personal documents, photographs and other miscellaneous materials. The correspondence relate to the life of the Yamates inside and outside of the Central Utah Relocation Center, Topaz, Utah. The documents concern the actions taken by the War Relocation Authority in regards to the relocation of David Yamate and his family.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

David Hisato Yamate was born in San Francisco, California, on 24 November,1925, to Sasato and Kikuye Yamate. Yamate's family also included two sisters, Lorraine and Aileen, and two brothers, Herbert and Don Allen. Tamaki Tsubokura Yamate was born on 9 November 1926. Tamaki's parents had two other daughters, Misao and Kaoru. Misao and her husband, Bob, had a daughter, Joyce Ann. The Tsubokura family resided in San Mateo.

The Yamate and the Tsubokura families resided in the San Francisco area for much of David and Tamaki's youth. But this changed with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese had a great affect on the lives of the many Japanese American families living on the West Coast. The Yamate and Tsubokura Families were no exception. The United States government and people were concerned about a possible invasion of Japan on the United State mainland. They were afraid that the Japanese living in America at this time would join with their homeland against the United States. This lead to the mass evacuation of the Japanese from the West Coast. Before the evacuation began, many of the Japanese voluntarily moved from the West Coast to the interior. Those Japanese Americans that did not have the money or the inclination to make the move were later removed by the government under the direction of the WRA. The Yamate and Tsubokura Families were a part of this later group.

It is possible that the Yamates and the Tsubokuras were held at Tanforan Race Tracks before going to the Central Utah Center in Topaz, Utah. Japanese living in the San Francisco Bay area were sent there and the residents of Tanforan were sent to Topaz. The first train load of Japanese arrived in Topaz on 11 September 1942. Both families arrived at Topaz in 1942 and 1944.

David and Tamaki met in Topaz and soon began dating. David would often leave the camp to go and work. At these times, David and Tamaki would exchange letters. David traveled and worked in many places before the closing of the camp in Topaz. He worked throughout Utah. He spent time in Roy, Milford, Salt Lake City, and Provo, Utah. He worked in a cannery, a laundry, a grocery store, a hotel, and on a farm. He also traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to find work. David also had the opportunity to attend Brigham Young University, where he was on the tennis team. His sister, Lorraine, also attended Brigham Young University.

While David was venturing out of the camp, Tamaki remained in the camp. She worked in the hospital and later in the welfare office. She spent most of her days in Topaz, except for the occasional trips to Delta and an excursion to Oak City Canyon. Before the close of Topaz, Tamaki and her mother went on a shopping trip to Salt Lake City, where she met David.

On 18 December 1944, President Roosevelt announced the closing of the interment camps during the next year. On 2 January 1945, the Western Defense Command lifted the mass exclusion order. This announcement brought about changes in the interment camps. People began to prepare to leave and return to their homes on the West Coast. The Tsubokura family left the Central Utah Relocation Center on 2 July 1945. They returned to San Mateo, California. Tamaki soon after started to work for the United States Navy as a secretary.

The Yamate family left soon after. David remained in Salt Lake City, Utah. He remained so that he could earn money for his family and save enough so that he could go back to California. He returned to San Francisco, California on 28 October 1945. He and Tamaki continued their relationship through letters, phone calls, and meetings. He soon left home to work on the farms in San Clara, California. Throughout World War II, David had avoided joining the army, but in 1946 he joined the army. During his army career, he was station at Camp Beale, Marysville, California; Camp Polk, Leesville, Louisiana; Camp Stoneman, California; and in Yokohama, Japan. Before David went off to basic training, he and Tamaki became engaged. They were married before David was shipped off to Japan on December 3 1946. David returned home from Japan on 3 January 1947. David and Tamaki had a daughter, Diane.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The David Hisato and Tamaki Tsubokura Yamate papers (1942-1968) contain correspondence, business and personal documents, photographs and other miscellaneous materials. The correspondence relate to the life of the Yamates inside and outside of the Central Utah Relocation Center, Topaz, Utah. The documents concern the actions taken by the War Relocation Authority in regards to the relocation of David Yamate and his family. Section I, boxes 1-7, contains the correspondence between David and Tamaki. Section II, box 8, contains correspondence between David and family and friends. Section III, box 9, contains dance programs, other dance paraphernalia, miscellaneous documents, and the Yamate Brothers business papers.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library's Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Ken Sanders in 2000.

Processing Note

Processed by Heather Harkness in 2000.

Click here to read a statement on harmful language in library records.

Separated Materials

See also the David Hisato and Tamaki Tsubokura Yamate photograph collection (P0851) in the Multimedia Division of Special Collections.

Please see the original register, located in the Special Collections reading room, for an index to the collection.

Related Materials

Forms part of the Mitsugi M. Kasai Memorial Japanese American Archives.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

I:  David and Tamaki correspondenceReturn to Top

The first four boxes of this collection contain personal letters between David Yamate and Tamaki Tsubokura, ranging from 1944 to 1947. David's correspondence documents his relationship with Tamaki and his movements throughout the United State in regards to his work and school experiences. Tamaki's letters to David give the reader a brief glimpse of life inside Topaz. Boxes 5, 6, and 7 contain correspondence from David to Tamaki. They contain information about David's military service in Japan for the United States in 1947.

Container(s) Description Dates
1944 September-1945 March
1945 March-July
1945 August-December
1945 December-1947 January
1947 January-May
1947 June-October
Folder 6 contains wedding cards.
1947 October-December

II:  David family and friend correspondenceReturn to Top

Section II of the collection contains miscellaneous correspondence to David from his family members and friends. Folder 3 contains the letters that David wrote to his parents.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
8 1
Min "Minzo" Akiyoski
8 2
Christmas and New Year's cards
8 3
David to parents
8 4
Perry Hitomi
8 5
Masie Imai
8 6
Yoshi Kashiwabara
8 7
Tad Kuwatani
8 8
Marie Laueake
8 9
8 10
Bishop R. Matsukage
8 11
8 12
8 13
Miscellaneous correspondence
8 14
8 15
Mot Sakaguchi
8 16
Tomotsu Sasaki
8 17
Sab Shimomura
8 18
8 19
8 20
The University Chapel
8 21
Aileen Yamate
1945; 1947
8 22
Dorothy Yamate
8 23
Yamate family

III:  Yamate business and personal papersReturn to Top

The documents in the section give an overview of the activities and regulations faced by Japanese Americans in the relocation camps. Folders 1-5 contain paraphernalia acquired by David and Tamaki through attending dances in Topaz and outside of Topaz. Folder 6 contains bus passes, identification cards, medical records, and other such materials. Folder 7 houses correspondence between David Yamate and the War Relocation Authority, Brigham Young University, and other institutions. Folder 8 consists of the Yamate Brothers business papers from 1948.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
9 1-4
Dance programs
9 5
Miscellaneous dance paraphernalia
9 6
Miscellaneous papers
9 7
Official documents of David Yamate
9 8
Yamate Brothers

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Dance parties--Utah--Topaz
  • Ex-internment camp inmates--California--Archives
  • Interment camp inmates--Utah--Correspondence
  • Internment camp inmates' writings
  • Internment camp inmates--Selection process--Utah
  • Japanese American soldiers--Utah--20th century--Archives
  • Japanese American women--Utah--20th century--Archives
  • Japanese Americans--California--San Francisco--20th century--Archives
  • Japanese Americans--Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945--Archives
  • Japanese Americans--Utah--20th century--Archives
  • Women internment camp inmates--Utah--Correspondence

Personal Names

  • Yamate, David Hisato, 1925-1989--Archives
  • Yamate, David Hisato, 1925-1989--Family--Correspondence
  • Yamate, Tamaki Tsubokura, 1926---Archives

Corporate Names

  • Central Utah Relocation Center
  • United States. War Relocation Authority--Archives

Form or Genre Terms

  • Business correspondence
  • Greeting cards
  • Love letters
  • Medical records
  • Personal correspondence

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Yamate, Tamaki Tsubokura, 1926- (aut)