Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the Akahori Family papers, ca. 1908-1965
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (173.15 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Akahori Family papers
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1908-1965
    Collection number: 2010
    Creator: Akahori family
    Extent: 39 boxes (19.5 linear ft.) and 1 oversize box
    Abstract: Masaru Akahori was born in 1884 in Tokushima Prefecture. He moved to the United States in 1904 where he resided in the San Francisco Bay area and worked in Sacramento and Placerville, California. After World War II he resettled in Los Angeles, California. Materials in this collection include diaries, memoirs, correspondence, and business and professional records related to the Akahori family. There are English and Japanese materials in this collection.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Language of the Material: Materials are in English and Japanese.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Akahori Family papers (Collection Number 2010). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


    Masaru Akahori was born in 1884 in Tokushima Prefecture. He arrived in the United States in 1904, and worked as a reporter for a Japanese language press in Northern California for several years until returning to Japan in 1919 to work as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo. He returned to America three years later, and became involved in various business ventures, many of which proved unsuccessful. These ventures included a legal office, a commercial company, and an advertising agency. Following a particularly messy financial fallout, he moved to Seattle to work for a couple of Japanese language newspapers based in the Pacific Northwest region. Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was arrested by FBI agents as a suspect enemy alien, and thereafter moved from one internment camp to another until he was finally released in March 1946. Following the War, he and his family resettled in Los Angeles, California, and he began publishing the Town Crier, a mimeographed Japanese language daily. Throughout his life, he went by various pen names and aliases such as: Meishu, Bennaishi, Bennosuke, Manako, and Hyoroku Oishi. He was known among his American friends as Ben. He married twice. He had two sons from his first marriage and a daughter, Tomoko Marjorie, from his second.
    Kiku Akahori (née Ishizuka, 1900-1961), Masaru's second wife, was also known as Kikuko or Keybow. A native of Kanagawa Prefecture, she originally came to the United States to join her first husband, Katsu Hosaka, but divorced him in 1928 on the basis of spousal mistreatment. She looked to Masaru as a confidant and often went to him with her troubles about her first marriage. They saw and wrote to each other often and eventually married in 1935.They had one daughter between them, and remained together until her death in 1961 as a result of an illness.

    Expanded Biographical Narrative

    Masaru Akahori (1884-). Writer, businessman, and newspaper publisher. A native of Tokushima Prefecture, he graduated from Tokushima Chugakko [characters] [Tokushima Middle School], at which Toyohiko Kagawa, a well-known Christian social reformer and labor leader, was his senior classmate. Masaru arrived in the United States in 1904, initially resided in the San Francisco Bay Area, and later worked in Sacramento and Placerville, California, as a reporter of a Japanese language press. In 1919 he went back to Japan to work as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun [characters] in Tokyo. He returned to America in 1922, and was involved in various business ventures in Southern California, including the Akahori Horitsu Jimusho [characters] [Akahori Legal Office] and the American Oriental Advertising Company (AOC). Many of these ventures proved unsuccessful, and his financial entanglement with business partners of the AOC resulted in his abscondence from his Terminal Island community. Subsequently, he fled to Seattle, Washington, where he became Managing Editor of the Taihoku Nippo [characters] [The Great Northern Daily News], and also served as the Pacific Northwest region correspondent of the Nichibei Shimbun [characters] [The Japanese American News] of San Francisco, one of the largest and influential Japanese language newspapers in America, until World War II broke out. Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, he was arrested by FBI agents as a suspected enemy alien, and was incarcerated in various internment camps, including Fort Missoula, Lordsburg, Santa Fe, and Crystal City. When he was finally released from the internment camp in March 1946, he and his family were resettled in Los Angeles. In the following month he began publishing the Town Crier, a mimeographed Japanese language daily, in Little Tokyo. He married twice. He had two sons, Seikichi Julius and Sakuzo (both residing in Japan), from his first marriage to Mikie Miki, and a Nisei daughter, Tomoko Marjorie, from his second to Kiku Ishizuka. His pen names and aliases included: Meishu, Bennaishi, Bennosuke, Manako, and Hyroku Oishi. He was known as Ben M. Akahori among his American friends.

    Scope and Content

    The Akahori Family Papers are one of the largest and most significant collections of personal papers of Japanese immigrants (the Issei) included in the Japanese American Research Project (JARP) Collection housed in Library Special Collections. Particularly detailed are Masaru Akahori's diaries and memoirs, extensive files of personal correspondence, a large and comprehensive collection of documentary and printed materials regarding his wartime incarceration, hefty amounts of clippings and draft notes of his numerous publications, and fairly complete sets of business and financial records from his various attempts in venture business. The collection also contains diaries and letters written by his wife Kiku, and various correspondence and personal records relating to the Akahori family. Materials are in both English and Japanese.
    Most of Akahori's prewar papers were impounded by FBI agents when he was arrested on December 7, 1942 in Seattle. Soon after he was released from the Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas in March 1946, he got in touch with the FBI and went to a designated Los Angeles warehouse, where his impounded personal papers and belongings were returned to him. He encouraged his Issei friends and acquaintances who were fellow inmates in the internment camps to do the same. However, many of them remained reluctant and afraid in the days of uncertainty, not far removed from their unpleasant experiences, to have any dealings with the FBI. This may account, in part, for the noticeable absence in the JARP Collection of comparable personal papers, records and documentary materials of other Issei.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Diaries
    2. Memoirs of Masaru Akahori
    3. Scrapbooks and mementos compiled by Masaru Akahori
    4. Personal correspondence
    5. Personal records of family members
    6. Writings and publishing by Masaru
    7. Office records of Akahori Horitsu Jimusho
    8. Stone Chemical Products Company
    9. American Oriental Advertising Company (AOC)
    10. Hyoroku Oishi Office
    11. Columbia Commerical Company
    12. Wartime internment
    13. Postwar business records
    14. Financial records
    15. Published materials collected by Masaru Akahori

    Indexing Terms

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


    Akahori family--Archives.
    Akahori, Masaru, b. 1884- --Archives.
    Akahori, Kiku--Archives.
    Japanese American Research Project (University of California, Los Angeles).
    Journalists--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
    Japanese American families--California--Archival resources.
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Business records.
    Family papers.

    Related Material