Mike M. Masaoka photograph collection, circa 1945-1986

Overview of the Collection

Masaoka, Mike, 1915-1991
Mike M. Masaoka photograph collection
circa 1945-1986 (inclusive)
4 boxes
Collection Number
The Mike M. Masaoka photograph collection contains images collected by Mr. Masaoka resulting from his personal and professional life, his involvement with the Japanese American community and Japanese American issues, and his association with politicians and diplomats.
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

Mike Masaru Masaoka was born in Fresno, California, in 1915, the fourth of eight children of immigrant parents. A few years after his birth, his father moved the Masaoka family to Salt Lake City. It was there that he earned the nickname "Mike" while attending Salt Lake City schools. Later, he had his name legally changed. After graduating from West High School, he attended the University of Utah while working in his family's produce business and local restaurants. At both West and the University, he excelled in forensics. He was graduated from the University in 1937, after studying economics and political science.

Masaoka's first involvement with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) occurred in 1938, when he attended an annual gathering of the organization. He became interested in the group's goal of organizing second-generation Japanese Americans, or Nisei, in efforts to counteract increasing discrimination. Masaoka quickly became a leader in the JACL after organizing the Intermountain District Council in Utah and Idaho. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the JACL's role as the leading representative organization for the Nisei took on new significance when coping with the government's decision to evacuate and intern all West Coast resident aliens and Americans of Japanese ancestry. As the JACL National Secretary, Masaoka was sent to Washington, D.C. in an effort to mitigate the effects of the relocation and work towards the elimination of the internment camps. Before leaving for Washington, though, Masaoka wed Etsu Mineta.

In addition to exerting influence on the United States government concerning the situation of Japanese Americans, while in Washington Masaoka also worked towards the reinstatement of military service for Japanese Americans. His efforts resulted in the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Masaoka, along with his four brothers and many other Japanese American men, joined the 442nd, which served with honor in military campaigns in Italy and France.

After returning from military service, the JACL appointed Masaoka as its Washington Representative, a post at which he served full-time until 1952, and part-time until 1972. During his years as a lobbyist, Masaoka worked to reform immigration and naturalization laws, resulting in the repeal of the 1924 Japanese Exclusion Act and the abolishment of the National Origins Quota Immigration System. In addition, he lobbied for reparations for losses suffered by Japanese Americans who had been relocated to the internment camps, which assisted in passage of the Evacuation Claims Act of 1948. In the 1980s, he also played a role in the proceedings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, which investigated the topic of further redress. Throughout his years in Washington, Masaoka also supported passage of civil rights legislation, and was active in development of smooth Japan-U.S. diplomatic and economic relations. In addition to his lobbying efforts on behalf of the JACL, in 1953 Masaoka established his own consulting firm, Mike Masaoka Associates. His clients included both American and Japanese manufacturing firms, as well as a variety of trade associations.

Masaoka was involved in a variety of Nisei veterans associations, including the "Go For Broke" National Veterans Association. He was the first Nisei elected President of the Japan-America Society, a group with which he maintained a long association. In 1970, the Mike Masaoka Distinguished Public Service Award was established by the JACL as a way to recognize individuals who had made significant contributions to the well-being of the Japanese American community. He was the JACL "Nisei of the Biennium" in 1950, and the JACL has established the Mike M. Masaoka Fellowship Fund to develop leaders in public service at the national level. In 1968, Masaoka was awarded the Third Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan. In 1983, he was honored with the Second Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor.

Masaoka's autobiography, They Call Me Moses Masaoka (written with Bill Hosokawa), was published by Morrow in 1987. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1991, after being plagued with heart problems during the previous decade. He was preceded in death by his two adopted children, and survived by his wife and one grandchild.


Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The photographs in the Mike M. Masaoka papers (MS 0656), from which this collection is derived, were donated to the University of Utah by Etsu Masaoka in 1991. The collection contains images collected by Mr. Masaoka resulting from his personal and professional life, his involvement with the Japanese American community and Japanese American issues, and his association with politicians and diplomats.

NAME AND SUBJECT INDEX (The first number designates the box in which the material is located. The second number refers to a folder within a box. The third number(s) refer to an individual item within a folder.):

The files names listed below have four parts: (part 1) The collection number n (part 2) box number_(part 3) folder number_(part 4) item number. These numbers will match exactly with the corresponding scans in the digital library.

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


Box 1: Folders 1-5: Contains photographs recording the 1970 Mike M. Masaoka Testimonial Dinner, which honored Masaoka's achievements as a representative of the Japanese American Citizen's League. Other photographs include head shots of Masaoka used in personal and professional situations.

Box 1: Folders 6-7: Contain images showing memorial services for Japanese American servicemen. In addition, the photographs show participants and activities of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which fought in Europe during World War Two. Included is a photograph of Masaoka, with three of his brothers, in uniform.

Box 1: Folders 8-20 and Box 2: Folders 1-2: Contain signed portraits of politicians and diplomats, many of which are inscribed to Masaoka. These, apparently, were collected by Masaoka while working in Washington as a representative of the Japanese American Citizens League and as a private consultant.

Box 2: Folders 3-13: Contains a variety of miscellaneous photographs resulting from Masaoka's personal and professional activities.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Etsu Masaoka in 1992 and 1993.

Processing Note

Processed by Mark Jensen in 1994 and by Kristen Soderberg in 2004.

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Separated Materials

Audio-visual materials were transferred to the Mike M. Masaoka audio-visual collection (A0351).

Related Materials

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

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Masaoka's achievements, Japanese American servicemen in WWII, politicians and diplomatsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Mike M. Masaoka Testimonial dinner
  • P0544n01_01_001--P0544n01_01_008
1 2
Mike M. Masaoka Testimonial dinner
  • P0544n01_02_001--P0544n01_02_008
1 3
  • P0544n01_03_001 : Mike Masaoka and children
  • P0544n01_03_002 : Mike Masaoka and children
  • P0544n01_03_003 : Midori and Michael Masaoka
  • P0544n01_03_004 : Midori Masaoka
  • P0544n01_03_005 : Thanksgiving card from Father Clement to Mike Masaoka
  • P0544n01_03_006 : Mike Masaoka
  • p0544n01_03_007 : Mike Masaoka on graduation day
  • P0544n01_03_008 : Mike Masaoka
1 4
  • P0544n01_04_001 : Mike Masaoka with Dean Acheson and Charles Horskey
  • P0544n01_04_002 : Mike Masaoka and President Nixon
  • P0544n01_04_003 : President Nixon with Japanese officials
  • P0544n01_04_004 : Mike Masaokawith President Nixon and Prime Minister Sato
  • p0544n01_04_005 : Mike Masaoka at U.S. Capitol
1 5
  • p0544n01_05_01 : Mike Masaoka and family
  • P0544n01_05_002 : Japanese Americans by a park gate
  • P0544n01_05_003 : Mike Masaoka at Williamsburg
  • P0544n01_05_004 : Mike Masaoka trophy collection
  • p0544n01_05_005 : Mike Masaoka and President Johnson
  • p0544n01_05_006 : Mike M. Masaoka
  • P0544n01_05_007 : Mike Masaoka at a meeting
1 6
Japanese American Veteran Memorials
  • P0544n01_06_001 : Military funeral flag ceremony
  • P0544n01_06_002 : General Jacob Devers at commemorative service, caption:"General Devers (USA, Ret.), chairman, American Battle Monuments Commission, was on of the speakers at the 442nd Combat Team commemorative service sponsored by the Japanese American Citizens League on June 2 at Arlington National Cemetery. June 2, 1963."
  • p0544n01_06_003 : Memorial plaque for Japanese American veterans, presented by the National Nisei Veterans Association. July 30, 1977
  • P0544n01_06_004 : Topaz internment camp
1963; 1977
1 7
442nd Regimental Combat Team
  • p0544n01_07_001 : President Truman reviews the 442nd Regimental Combat Team
  • p0544n01_07_002 : 442ndRegiment in Europe, World War II
  • p0544n01_07_003 : Masaoka brothers in uniform
circa 1945
1 8
  • P0544n01_08_001 : Mke Masaoka and Mike Mansfield at JACL presentation
1 9
  • p0544n01_09_001 : Congressman Norman Mineta
  • p0544n01_09_002 : Mayor Norman Mineta
  • P0544n01_09_003 : Pat Saiki and Mike Masaoka
  • P0544n01_09_004 : Mike Masaoka in his office
  • P0544n01_09_005 : Mike Masaoka and Frank Fellows
1 10
  • P0544n01_10_001 : Father Edward J. Flanagan
  • p0544n01_10_002 : Prime Minister Takeo Miki
  • p0544n01_10_003 : Congressman David S. King
  • P0544n01_10_004 : Congressman Chet Holifield
  • p0544n01_10_005 : Three Japanese dignitaries
1 11
  • P0544n01_11_001 : Congressman Cecil R. King
  • P0544n01_11_002 : Senator Wallace F. Bennett
  • P0544n01_11_003 : Senator Albert Gore
  • P0544n01_11_004 : Senator Thomas Kuchel
1 12
  • P0544n01_12_001 : Congressman George P. Miller
  • P0544n01_12_002 : Member of Congress, 1959
  • P0544n01_12_003 : Senator Everett M. Dirksen
  • P0544n01_12_004 : Senator Clair Engle
1 13
  • P0544n01_13_001 : Paul H. Douglas
  • P0544n01_13_002 : Congressman Byron G. Rogers
  • P0544n01_13_003 : Senator Oren E. Long
  • P0544n01_13_004 : Congressman Barratt O'Hara
1 14
  • P0544n01_14_001 : Senator Hubert H. Humphrey
  • P0544n01_14_002 : Congressman Ken Keating
  • P0544n01_14_003 : Senator John A. Carroll
  • P0544n01_14_004 : Congressman John Byrnes
1 15
  • P0544n01_15_001 : Congressman Hale Boggs
  • P0544n01_15_002 : Congressman George P. Miller
  • P0544n01_15_003 : Congressman Thomas J. Lane
  • P0544n01_15_004 : Senator Carl Hayden
1 16
  • P0544n01_16_001 : Vice President Dick Nixon
  • P0544n01_16_002 : Jack Shelley
  • p0544n01_16_003 : Congressman Daniel K. Inouye
1 17
  • P0544n01_17_001 : Congressman D. S. Saund
  • P0544n01_17_002 : Congressman Carl Albert
  • P0544n01_17_003 : Senator Elbert D. Thomas
  • p0544n01_17_004 : Congressman Bob Matsui
1 18
  • P0544n01_18_001 : Senator Henry \Scoop\" Jackson"
  • P0544n01_18_002 : Roger Baldwin
  • P0544n01_18_003 : Mike Masaoka and Senator Thomas Kuchel
  • P0544n01_18_004 : Congressman John E. Moss
1 19
  • P0544n01_19_001 : Congressman Walter Judd
  • p0544n01_19_002 : John J. McCloy, Edward J. Ennis, and Dillon S. Myer
  • P0544n01_19_003 : Unidentified associate of Mike Masaoka
  • p0544n01_19_004 : Congressman Spark Matsunaga
1 20
  • P0544n01_20_001 : Congressman Bernie Sisk
  • p0544n01_20_002 : Senator Ted Moss
  • P0544n01_20_003 : Congressman Sidney R. Yates
  • P0544n01_20_004 : George R. Ariyoshi and Mike Masaoka
  • P0544n01_20_005 : Patsy T. Mink

Politicians, diplomats and miscellaneousReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
  • P0544n02_01_001 : Senator Jacob Javits
  • P0544n02_01_002 : Senator Warren G. Magnuson
  • P0544n02_01_003 : Senator Hiram L. Fong
2 2
  • P0544n02_02_001 : Mike Mansfield
  • P0544n02_02_002 : Congressman Emanuel Celler
2 3
Sadao Munemori
  • p0544n02_03_001 : Mike Masaoka, President Kennedy, and the Munemori family
  • P0544n02_03_002 : Mike Masaoka
  • P0544n02_03_003 : Munemori family with President Kennedy
  • p0544n02_03_004 : Mike Masaoka, President Kennedy, and Munemori family
2 4
Bank of Tokyo and Japanese Government Officials
  • P0544n02_04_001 : Yasuhiro Nakasone
  • P0544n02_04_002 : Japanese government official
  • P0544n02_04_003 : Japanese government official, 1986
  • P0544n02_04_004 : Japanese government official with children
  • p0544n02_04_005 : President Reagan and Prime Minister Nakasone in 1986
  • p0544n02_04_006 : Bank of Tokyo and Japanese Government officials, 1986
2 5
Correspondence Photographs; (These items were originally located in Ms 565)
  • P0544n02_05_001 : Mike Masaoka and Misoji Sakamoto
  • P0544n02_05_002 : Eijiro Masaoka grave
  • P0544n02_05_003 : Midori Masaoka
  • P0544n02_05_004 : Midori Masaoka at Niagara Falls
2 6
Lee Hawkins
  • P0544n02_06_001 : Lee Hawkins [1]
  • P0544n02_06_002 : Lee Hawkins [2]
  • P0544n02_06_003 : Mike Masaoka collection of paintings
  • P0544n02_06_004 : Toy cars and wood crafts
  • P0544n02_06_005 : Unidentified house
2 7
Information Packet
  • P0544n02_07_001 : Japanese girl with luggage
  • P0544n02_07_002 : Manzanar Relocation camp, 1942
  • P0544n02_07_003 : Tule Lake internment camp
2 8
  • P0544n02_08_001 : Landing at Yokohama, 1854
  • P0544n02_08_002 : Landing at Shimoda
  • P0544n02_08_003 : Return from Shuri Castle [2]
  • P0544n02_08_004 : Passing the Rubicon
  • P0544n02_08_005 : Perry landing at Tokyo Bay, 1853
2 9
United States Presidents
  • P0544n02_09_001 : Lyndon B. Johnson
  • P0544n02_09_002 : President Lyndon B. Johnson
  • P0544n02_09_003 : President Eisenhower
  • P0544n02_09_004 : President Kennedy
2 10
  • p0544n02_10_001 : Mike M. Masaoka Award to Senator Mike Mansfield
2 11
  • p0544n02_11_001 : Mike Masaoka and congressional committee in Tokyo, 1956
  • P0544n02_11_002 : Academy Awards event
  • p0544n02_11_003 : Mike Masaoka and Prime Minister Sato
  • p0544n02_11_004 : Japanese Americans at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963
  • P0544n02_11_005 : Japanese Americans at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963
circa 1956
2 12
  • P0544n02_12_001 : Senator Pat McCarran
2 13
  • P0544n02_13_001 : Congressman Francis E. Walter
  • P0544n02_13_002 : Senator Pat McCarran
  • P0544n02_13_003 : President Johnson on Liberty Island, 1965
  • P0544n02_13_004 : Military ceremony
  • p0544n02_13_005 : Mike Masaoka with President Nixon and Prime Minister Sato
circa 1965

OversizeReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
oversize-box Folder
3 1
General Images
  • P0544n03_01_01: Photo of Bob Bray Secretary of the Eisenhower cabinet. Inscribed "with the warmest greetings to the Japanese American Citizens League and to Mike Masaoka, from one who is proud to be his friend."1959
  • P0544n03_01_02: President Lyndon B. Johnson shaking hands with Mike Masaoka, as members of the the Japanese American Citizens League look on. Caption: "Mr. President, you of course know Mike Masaoka, Mr. JACL himself." Signed by Spark Matsunaga, U.S. Congressman [from Hawaii], July 13, 1967.

PanoramaReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
4 1
  • Photograph number 1: JACL National Convention in Detroit, Michigan, 1964

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Civic leaders--Utah--Salt Lake City--Photographs
  • Japanese American soldiers--Photographs
  • Japanese American veterans--Utah--Salt Lake City--Photographs
  • Japanese Americans--Utah--Salt Lake City--Photographs
  • Legislators--United States--Photographs
  • Lobbyists--United States--Photographs
  • Politicians--United States--Photographs
  • War memorials--Utah--Photographs

Personal Names

  • Masaoka, Mike, 1915-1991--Family--Photographs
  • Masaoka, Mike, 1915-1991--Photographs

Corporate Names

  • Japanese American Citizens' League. Utah Chapter--Photographs
  • United States. Army. Regimental Combat Team, 442nd--Photographs

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographs
  • Portraits