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Guide to the Tomoo Ogita Photograph Albums
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Important Information for Researchers
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Separation Note
  • Processing Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Tomoo Ogita photograph albums
    Date: circa 1920s-1973,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1935-1957
    Collection Number: MS-M033
    Creator: Ogita, Tomoo
    Extent: 3 linear feet (7 boxes)
    Languages: The collection is in Japanese and English.
    Repository: University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.
    Irvine, California 92623-9557
    Abstract: The collection comprises photograph albums created by Tomoo Ogita, a Japanese American who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California in the 1920s and 1930s. He was associated with Granada Relocation Center in the 1940s and served as special language and psychological consultant to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in Hiroshima during the allied occupation of Japan. The albums span several decades, reflecting the dramatic life changes experienced by many Japanese Americans during World War II. The collection contains over 5000 images.

    Important Information for Researchers


    The collection is open for research. Although the loose photographs have been sleeved, photographs in albums are unprotected; researchers must wear gloves when using this collection.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Tomoo Ogita Photograph Albums. MS-M033. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Tomoo Ogita's widow, Toshiko Ogita, through her brother, Bob Oda in 2008.

    Processing History

    Processed by Cyndi Shein in 2008.


    Tomoo Ogita was born in Los Angeles, California on February 23, 1924 to Japanese-born parents. During his youth he attended public school in Los Angeles and was also educated at a private Japanese language school. He attended classes at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he also taught Japanese in the Oriental Language Department. Photographic evidence places him at the Granada Relocation Center in Amache, Colorado in 1943. Whether or not Tomoo Ogita was interned or was simply assisting with the resettlement is uncertain, but his family appears to have been interned. In September 1945 Ogita was sent to Hiroshima as part of the Allied occupation of Japan where he served as special language and psychological consultant to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. Following that project, he was assigned to the Civil Information and Education Section of General Headquarters, Supreme Commander of Allied Powers in Tokyo as researcher of cultural assets. At the close of his government career he worked in Korea for the U.S. Army's 7th Psychological Operations Group. While working in Asia, Ogita also formally studied the art and cultures of the Far East, learned Chinese and Korean, and served as the English language editor of the Journal of Japanese Archaeology.
    In 1968 Tomoo Ogita resigned from government service and returned from the Far East to his native California. He authored books and articles, lectured on Oriental art history at various California universities, and established Asia Art Associates, a business through which he appraised and authenticated art objects. Ogita was also an avid photographer and ceramicist. He lived in California with his second wife, Toshiko Ogita (née Oda) until his death in December 1983.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    The collection primarily comprises photograph albums created by Tomoo Ogita and contains over 5000 images. The albums span several decades, reflecting the dramatic life changes experienced by many Japanese Americans during World War II. Album 1 contains photographs of Ogita's childhood and youth in Los Angeles. Albums 2 and 3 contain photographs of Ogita and his family at Granada Relocation Center in Amache, Colorado. Albums 3, 4, and 5 contain photographs of Japan, including the ruins of Tokyo and Hiroshima. Album 6 contains portraits taken by Ogita. Albums 7, 8, 9, and 10 contain proof prints cut from contact sheets, depicting weddings, parties, sightseeing, funerals, co-workers and cultural events in Japan.
    Albums 11 and 12 contain photographs of the Philippines, Hawaii, the Far East, and South East Asia that predate Ogita's residency in Asia. These albums were collected by Tomoo Ogita, rather than created by him. They were likely created by friends he met in Asia who gave the albums to him because of his passion for photography and Asian culture.
    Also included in the collection are loose photographs, biographical information on Tomoo Ogita and his brother Yoshiaki, and two letters received by Ogita during the 1960s.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged by format.

    Separation Note

    Several publications were removed from this collection and cataloged separately in Special Collections and Archives' catalog, ANTPAC. 

    Processing Note

    The adhesive corners on some album pages are failing and some photographs have become dislodged. These photographs have been left in the context of the albums during processing and have not been removed to the "Loose photographs" box. Use care when handling.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Tomoo, Ogita -- Archives.
    Japanese Americans -- Photographs.
    Hiroshima-shi (Japan) -- Photographs -- 1940-1950.
    Tokyo (Japan) -- Photographs -- 1940-1950.
    Granada Relocation Center -- Photographs -- 1940-1950.

    Genres and Formats of Materials

    Photographic prints -- 20th century.
    Photograph albums -- 20th century.