Mari Tsuruyama Okumura collection, 1936-2014

Overview of the Collection

Okumura, Mari
Mari Tsuruyama Okumura collection
1936-2014 (inclusive)
0.2 Linear feet of shelf space, (2 Boxes)
Collection Number
SC 014.6 (collection)
The Mari Tsuruyama Okumura Collection consists of photographs of the Tsuruyama family from 1936-1946, including photographs from the family's incarceration at Heart Mountain and Tule Lake Relocation Centers. Prior to World War II, the Tsuruyama family lived in San Jose, California.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

In 1936 Tatsuya Tsuruyama arrived in Los Angeles, California. He returned to Japan in 1940 to marry Miyo Karubi. Later that year, the couple moved to San Jose, California, where their first son, Shigenobu, was born on July 3, 1941. On May 29, 1942, the Tsuruyamas were sent to Santa Anita, California as part of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. On September 1, 1942, they were sent to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, where they spent the initial part of their incarceration before being sent to Tule Lake in 1944. On October 22, their first daughter, Ruri was born. On May 17, 1944, the Tsuruyamas were transferred to Tule Lake Relocation Center in Northern California. On November 20, 1944, their second daughter, Mari was born. By August 15, 1945, the family left Tule Lake and travelled to Santa Fe, New Mexico before moving to Portland, Oregon. By January 13, 1946, the family moved again to Uraga, Japan.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Executive Order 9066:

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the incarceration from 1942 to 1946 of approximately 120,000 adults and children of Japanese ancestry, many of whom were United States citizens. They were expelled from their homes and placed in incarceration camps without due process and in violation of their civil rights. These camps were euphemistically referred to as “relocation centers” or “internment camps”. After decades of advocacy by the Japanese American community, in 1988 the United States issued a formal apology and began redress to survivors of Japanese incarceration during World War II.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Mari Tsuruyama Okumura Collection consists of several photographs taken between 1936 and 1946. Many of the photographs prior to 1940 depict Tatsuya as an official in a Buddhist Church in Los Angeles, California. The photographs from 1940-1942 are of the family in San Jose, California and Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. The photographs from 1944-1945 are from both Heart Mountain and Tule Lake Relocation Center. The collection also includes a relief carving of Heart Mountain and some secondary documents about the Tsuruyama family.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Some items in this collection have been digitized and are available online as part of the Japanese American Incarceration Collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions apply.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]

Mari Tsuruyama Okumura Collection, 1936-2014 (SC 014.6)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


This collection is arranged at the folder level in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

The Mari Tsuruyama Okumura Collection was donated to Washington State University by Mari Okumura in 2014.

Processing Note

Steven Bingo processed the collection in 2014.

In 2021, in response to evolving societal understanding regarding the language used to describe the impact of Executive Order 9066, this finding aid was revised to more accurately provide context to the mass incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

Related Materials

George and Frank C. Hirahara Photograph Collection of Heart Mountain, Wyoming, 1932-2016 (SC 014)

Tom T. Hide Collection, 1925-2012 (SC 014.1)

Okubara Family Collection, circa 1943-2008 (SC 014.2)

Takeda Family Collection, 1938-circa 2012 (SC 014.3)

Kenneth Nishiyori Collection, 1942-1944 (SC 014.4)

George and Doris McIntyre Papers, 1944-1945 (SC 014.5)

Patti Hirahara Collection, 1955-2020 (SC 014.7)

Terry Ishihara Collection, 1989-2012 (SC 014.8)

Mike Mackey Collection, 1940-2002 (SC 014.9)

Heart Mountain High School Tempo, 1945 (SC 014.10)

Fusataro Nakaya Photographs, circa 1944 (SC 014.11)

Nabata Family Collection of Heart Mountain Photographs, circa 1942-1945 (SC 014.12)

Frank Chin Oral History Collection, 1974-1986 (Cage 654)

Inez Puckett McEwen Collection on Japanese-American Incarceration, 1942-1943 (Cage 4923)

Japanese American Redress Collection, 1976-2000 (Cage 5126)

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Background information undated
1 2 Photographs 1936-1940
1 3 Photographs 1940-1942
1 4 Photographs 1944-1945
1 5 Photograph taken in Santa Fe, New Mexico July 18, 1945
1 6 Tsuruyama family history 2012-2014
2 Relief carving of Heart Mountain Relocation Center undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Japanese Americans -- California -- History -- 20th century.
  • Japanese Americans -- Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945.

Personal Names

  • Okumura, Mari -- Archives.

Corporate Names

  • Heart Mountain Relocation Center (Wyo.) -- History -- Sources.
  • Tule Lake Relocation Center -- History -- Sources.