Clarence T. Arai papers, 1917-2004

Overview of the Collection

Arai, Clarence Takeya, 1901-1963
Clarence T. Arai papers
1917-2004 (inclusive)
1919-1956 (bulk)
0.65 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Collection Number
5542 (Accession No. 5542-001)
Family history and scrapbook of World War I military service and pre-World War II experience of Clarence Arai and the broader Japanese American community in Seattle
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Clarence Takeya Arai (1901-1963) was an active member of Seattle's Japanese American community, best known for his instrumental role in the formation of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Arai also founded the first Japanese American Boy Scout troop in 1920, and in 1924, he became the first Japanese American to graduate from the University of Washington Law School. In 1928, he was elected president of the Seattle Progressive Citizens League. As president, he and League vice president George Ishihara traveled the west coast campaigning for a national organization, which led to the founding convention of the JACL in Seattle in August 1930. Arai was active in local politics and served as vice president of the 37th Legislative District Republican Club and as a state delegate to the Republican convention. In 1934, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the state legislature.

At the onset of World War II, with anti-Japanese sentiment increasing in the U.S., the JACL sought to demonstrate Japanese American loyalty to the U.S. by forming the Emergency Defense Council, with Arai as chairman. In 1942, Arai and his family were sent to Camp Harmony in Puyallup and subsequently interned at Minidoka Relocation Center in Hunt, Idaho. Arai's health suffered during the war years and he had a mild stroke while at Minidoka. After the war, Arai retired from law practice and devoted his time to photography. His photos were exhibited all over the country and internationally, and he was honored by the Photographic Society of America. Arai also served as a judge for the Seattle Times Amateur Snapshot Contest and as a member of the Seattle Public Library board.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Scrapbook, 1919-1942 (1 vol.), documenting Arai's World War I-era military service and pre-World War II career, and including clippings and other ephemera pertaining to events in the Japanese American community in the months leading up to their incarceration following the attack on Pearl Harbor. A small quantity of post-war ephemera (primarily certificates of recognition and family history material) accompanies the scrapbook.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Lillian S. Ogawa, sister of Clarence Arai, 2007-10-05

Separated Materials

Material Described Separately:

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Family and Biographical materials
Legal and Financial records
1917, undated
Certificates and Programs
1960-1993, undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
  • Japanese Americans--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Lawyers--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Arai, Clarence Takeya, 1901-1963--Archives