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Hoshida (George) Papers
96.117.1 & 97.106  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Project Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: George Hoshida papers
    Dates: 1942-1945
    Bulk Dates: 1942-1983
    Collection number: 96.117.1 & 97.106
    Languages: English
    Collection number: 96.117.1 & 97.106
    Creator: Hoshida, George
    Collection Size: 0.75 linear feet
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Abstract: George Hoshida (1907-1985) was an incarcerated artist who documented camp life with pencil and brushwork in a series of notebooks he kept between 1942 and 1945. This collection consists of his autobiography, artwork, and correspondences.
    Physical location: Japanese American National Museum 369 E. First St. Los Angeles, CA 90012


    Collection is open for research by appointment. Please contact the Japanese American National Museum's Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki National Resource Center at (213) 830-5680 or hnrc@janm.org to schedule an appointment. The Resource Center hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (hnrc@janm.org).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], George Hoshida papers. 96.117.1 & 97.106, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2007. Project Director was Cris Paschild. Project Archivists were Yoko Shimojo and Marlon Romero.

    Biography / Administrative History

    George Hoshida was born in Japan in 1907. In 1912, at the age of four, he immigrated with his family to Hilo, Hawai'i. It is important to note Hoshida's age when he made the journey across the Pacific. Although his entire adolescence and adulthood was spent in Hawai'i, Hoshida was forbidden by law to become a naturalized citizen. Unlike migrants from Europe, immigrants from Asia were restricted from naturalization because of race until 1952.
    A self-educated man, Hoshida's formal education ended when he graduated from junior high school (he received his GED after the war). Hoshida then went on to work for the Hilo Electric Light Company, married and started a family. He was also involved in his Buddhist temple and had a keen interest in Judo. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hoshida was considered "potentially dangerous" due to his community involvement. Although he professed little interest in international politics, the practice of his Buddhist faith, his leadership in his temple, and his interest in Judo deemed him "suspicious." Hoshida was first incarcerated in Kilauea Military Camp and then Sand Island in Hawai'i, and then subsequently taken to the Justice Department camps at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and Lordsburg and Santa Fe in New Mexico.
    During the first two years of his incarceration, Hoshida was separated from his wife, Tamae, and four daughters, Taeko, June, Sandra, and Carole. Taeko was severely disabled and remained institutionalized in Hawai'i when the rest of the family was sent to War Relocation Authority concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas in the hopes of reuniting. Hoshida was finally able to join his family in Jerome and the family was later transferred together to the camp at Gila River. Sadly, Taeko died in Hawai'i before her family was able to return.
    While Hoshida was incarcerated, he cultivated a long-time interest in drawing. He filled notebooks with drawings and watercolors of his time behind barbed wire. He drew portraits of fellow inmates, depicted scenes of daily activities, sketched the surrounding camp environment, and used his skills to teach other inmates. His detailed visual diary provides an extensive and personal record of his experiences. Hoshida drew for his own consumption, but his carefully preserved drawings and watercolors help us reconstruct this critical time in American history.
    In December 1945, Hoshida and his family returned home to Hilo, Hawai'i. In 1959, Hoshida, along with his wife and daughter Carole, resettled in Los Angeles where he worked as a deputy clerk in the municipal court. His daughters June and Sandra would later relocate to Los Angeles. After retiring, Hoshida returned to Hawai'i where he wrote and published an autobiography entitled, Life of a Japanese Immigrant Boy in Hawaii. George Hoshida died in 1985. In 1996, led by his daughters Sandra Hoshida and June Honma, his family donated his sketchbooks and letters to the permanent collection of the Japanese American National Museum.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The George Hoshida Papers are divided into three series: Biographical Materials, Correspondence, and Sketches.
    Series 1: Biographical Materials This includes a copy of Hoshida's autobiography, Life of a Japanese Immigrant Boy in Hawaii & America: from Birth thru WWII 1907-1945 and a clipping from the July 1988 issue of Honolulu magazine entitled Sketches from Camp.
    Series 2: Correspondence This series contains two sub-series. The first contains personal letters between George Hoshida and his family and makes up the bulk of the series. The second includes correspondence between the Hoshida family and the United States government. Each sub-series is arranged in chronological order. Documents without a date are located at the end of each sub-series folder.
    Series 3: Sketches This series is divided into two sub-series. The first encompasses Hoshida's sketches that have been digitized and are available online at http://www.janm.org/collections/online/george_hoshida_collection The online collection includes 260 drawings and watercolors by Hoshida from his visual diary covering his period of incarceration. The original materials are preserved in the National Museum's permanent collection and researchers are requested to utilize these digital surrogates.
    The second sub-series includes 16 sketches by Hoshida created during 1942-1945 that are not yet digitized. The sketches are arranged in chronological order with undated items at the end of the folder. Many of the images in this series portray daily camp life of the internees at the Jerome and Gila relocation camps.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Detention Camps, Kilauea
    Detention Camps, Sand Island
    Santa Ana Army Air Base (Calif.)
    Justice Department Camps, Fort Sam Houston
    Justice Department Camps, Lordsburg
    Justice Department Camps, Santa Fe
    Concentration Camps, Jerome
    Concentration camps, Gila River
    Concentration camp life