Okubara Family Collection, circa 1943-2008

Overview of the Collection

Okubara family
Okubara Family Collection
circa 1943-2008 (inclusive)
4.5 linear feet of shelf space, (6 containers)
Collection Number
SC 014.2 (collection)
The Okubara Family Collection consists primarily of materials dating from the family’s time in Japan where Mokoto (Sam) Okubara served in the United States Army during the post-World War II occupation of Japan. Materials include phonograph records, artifacts from incarceration camps, and ephemera related to post-War Japan.
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.

English, Japanese

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

In April 1942, the Okubara family was forcibly removed from their home in Mill Valley, California by the War Relocation Authority under powers outlines by Executive Order 9066. The Okubaras were sent to Granada Relocation Center, Colorado, which was also known as Camp Amache. Harry and Tora Okubara’s son, Mokoto (Sam) served in the United States Army after World War II as a language instructor. Sam completed his training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota and served at the Washington Heights barracks in Tokyo.

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

This collection contains materials from the Okubara family’s time in Japan from 1947-1952. These materials consist of phonograph records, photographic postcards, and pamphlets. The collection also includes two suitcases used by Tora Okubara at Granada Relocation Center, Colorado and polished wood art, one of which was made at Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas.

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]

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

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

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


This collection is arranged in one series.

Acquisition Information

The Okubara Family Collection was donated to Washington State University by Patricia Okubara in 2011 (MS 2011-40).

Processing Note

This collection was processed by Steven Bingo in 2012. A grant from the National Park Service provided funding for processing and digitization of materials about Heart Mountain.

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.

Separated Materials

The following items were removed and cataloged separately:

"A buried past II : a sequel to the annotated bibliography of the Japanese American Research Project Collection" (1999), compiled by Yuji Ichioka, Eiichiro Azuma.

"By order of the president : FDR and the internment of Japanese Americans" (2001), by Greg Robinson.

"Confinement and ethnicity : an overview of World War II Japanese American relocation sites" (2002), by Jeffrey Burton, et. al.

"Ellison S. Onizuka : a remembrance" (1986), by Dennis Ogawa and Glen Grant.

"Just Americans : how Japanese Americans won a war at home and abroad : the story of the 100th Battalion/442d Regimental Combat Team in World War II" (2006), by Robert Asahina.

"Last witnesses : reflections on the wartime internment of Japanese Americans" (2001), edited by Erica Harth.

"Nisei: the quiet Americans" (1969), by Bill Hosokawa.

"The principled politician: the Ralph Carr story" (2008), by Adam Schrager.

"Suspended : growing up Asian in America" (2000), by Clifford I. Uyeda.

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)

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)

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

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 Postcards of Washington Heights personnel quarters, Tokyo, Japan undated
1 2 Pamphlets 1952-2008
1 3 Inserts for phonograph records circa 1946
Map Drawer Photograph of Sam Okubara’s class at the United States Army language school 1946
2-3 Tora Okubara’s suitcases circa 1943
4 Art from relocation camps circa 1943
5 5-7 Phonograph records. Familiar Waltzes from Favorite Operas 1946
5 8-18 Phonograph records from notebook 1
5-6 19-28 Phonograph records from notebook 2
6 29-38 Phonograph records from notebook 3

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Japanese Americans -- Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945

Corporate Names

  • ranada Relocation Center -- History -- Sources

Family Names

  • Okubara family -- Archives