Masazo & Yoneko Furuya Papers

Finding aid created by Jamie Henricks.
Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
© 2017
Japanese American National Museum. All rights reserved.

Finding aid for the Masazo & Yoneko Furuya Papers

Collection number: 2000.150

Descriptive Summary

Title: Masazo & Yoneko Furuya papers
Date: 1942-1944
Collection number: 2000.150
Collection Size: .2 linear feet (1 box)
Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles, California 90012
Creator: Furuya, Masazo
Creator: Furuya, Yoneko
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence and forms sent to and from Masazo and Yoneko Furuya between 1942 and 1944. Items are mostly letters, but also include work permits, parolee agreements, postcards, and other forms.
Physical location: Japanese American National Museum. 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012.


By appointment only. Please contact the Collections Management and Access Unit ( Advanced notice is required.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management and Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Masazo & Yoneko Furuya Papers. 2000.150, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

Acquisition Information

Acquired in 2000 as a gift of Ritsuko Furuya.

Processing Information

Items were initially organized and partially described by a staff member in 2000. The rest of the description and a finding aid was created by Jamie Henricks in 2017. Japanese translation and fact-checking was completed by collections volunteer Kyoko Ogawa in 2017.

Biographical Note

Masazo Furuya was born January 14, 1902, in Nishihadano, Japan. He entered the United States in San Francisco, traveling on the SS Shinyo Maru, arriving September 12, 1916. He petitioned for naturalization in 1945, and was a gardener at the time.
His wife was Yoneko Furuya, born November 18, 1915, in San Francisco, California. (Her parents were Daisuke and Matsuko Takahashi, later at Tule Lake Relocation Center.) Masazo and Yoneko were married on December 23, 1935 in Kawasaki, in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan. It is possible Yoneko’s family returned to Japan when she was young, as her relocation record states she lived in Japan between 15 and 20 years, and attended school there, but it is unclear.
Yoneko appeared to be living in Lompoc, California, or the area around Santa Maria, California through March or April, 1942. Around March 26, 1942, a group of Japanese Americans left Oakland to travel to Keetley, Utah, to work on a farm owned by the town’s mayor, George Fisher. It is unclear if Yoneko traveled with the group or not, as travel was restricted starting March 30, 1942 to prepare for relocation – yet Yoneko still received letters addressed to Lompoc for a short time after. Yoneko received letters in Keetley from friends at in various places, including Tulare Relocation Center. Yoneko was also a seamstress. She eventually left the farm in Keetley and voluntarily entered Topaz Relocation Center on November 15, 1942. Masazo was held at various detention centers and camps (including Fort Lincoln in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico) and eventually joined the family at Topaz on July 10, 1943. Masazo left Topaz as a seasonal farmworker during the summer of 1944, but the family left Topaz for good on August 15, 1945.
They had four children: Ritsuko (a daughter, born March 7, 1937), Nikio (a son, born April 6, 1938), Seiji (a son, born May 26, 1939), and Naoko (a daughter, born November 18, 1941).
Yoneko died in San Mateo, California, on June 21, 1965. Masazo died in San Mateo, California, on August 28, 1976.

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence and forms sent to and from Masazo and Yoneko Furuya between 1942 and 1944. Items are mostly letters, but also include work permits, parolee agreements, postcards, and other forms. Masazo and Yoneko wrote to each other while separated, and each also received letters from the government and friends. Masazo was sent to Fort Lincoln Internment Camp (in Bismarck, ND), Lordsburg Internment Camp, Santa Fe Internment Camp, and Topaz Relocation Center. He was released seasonally for farm work to parts of Utah in 1944. Yoneko started in Lompoc, but eventually moved to a farm in Keetley, Utah, and later to Topaz Relocation Center. She received letters from friends in the Lompoc area, as well as Tulare Assembly Center. Some letters are in English, but the bulk of the materials are written in Japanese.

Related Materials

Multiple other collections at the museum include materials from Lordsburg Internment Camp, Topaz Relocation Center, Fort Lincoln Internment Camp (Bismarck, ND), and Tulare Assembly Center.


Original arrangement was preserved. The container list rearranges items intellectually, and lists items in chronological order.

Indexing Terms

Furuya, Masazo
Furuya, Yoneko
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
Central Utah Relocation Center
Lordsburg Internment Camp (N.M.)
Fort Lincoln Internment Camp (Bismarck, N.D.)
Tulare Assembly Center (Tulare, Calif.)

Additional collection guides: