Scope and Content note
Title: Kenzo Robert Koike Papers
Dates: 1921-1967 and undated
Bulk Dates: 1921-1948
Collection number: H.Mss.1048
Koike, Kenzo Robert
2 linear feet
(4 document box + 1 clamshell box)
Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library. Claremont, CA 91711.
Kenzo R. Koike was a Japanese American, born in 1920 in Seattle, Washington. At the age of 12, his family moved to Los Angeles,
where he attended middle school, high school, and college. In 1942, the Koike family was removed from their Los Angeles home
and sent to Heart Mountain Relocation center in Wyoming. By 1943, Kenzo Koike was drafted into the United States Army, where
he served as a translator in Japan from 1945 to 1946. This collection includes documents and photographs from Koike’s youth
in Seattle and Los Angeles, including diplomas, year books, and registration cards. It also contains military documents and
photographs from Koike’s time in Japan, depicting bombings after World War II, traditional Japanese dress, and Koike’s relatives.
In addition, a garrison hat and an aviator hat from the war are located in this collection. Postcards of barracks in Fort
Sheridan and correspondence with Koike’s peers in Seattle are also in this collection.
Physical location: Please consult repository.
Language of materials:
Materials are primarily in English, some materials in Japanese.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.
[Identification of item], Kenzo Robert Koike Papers (H.Mss. 1048). Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, Claremont University
Immediate Source of Acquisition
No additions to the collection are anticipated.
Processed by Phoebe Huth in 2014 in the Claremont Center for Engagement with Primary Sources (CCEPS), with assistance from
Lisa Crane. In order to process this collection, photographs were taken out of their frames and placed in mylar sleeves. The
frames were discarded. All loose photographs were also placed in mylar sleeves. Rolled photographs were flattened and folded
correspondence was unfolded in order to preserve and store the materials. A newspaper clipping was photocopied onto acid free
paper and the original disposed.
Kenzo Robert Koike was born in Seattle, Washington in 1920 to Japanese immigrants. At the age of 12, his family moved to Los
Angeles, California, where he attended junior high school, high school, and Los Angeles City College, where he participated
in many sports, including wrestling, basketball, and swimming. A year after graduating college, Koike and his family were
relocated to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming and forced into internment, where he worked for Keeshin Motor Express
Co., Inc. He was then drafted by the United States Army in 1943 and eventually became a rifleman and worked for military intelligence.
By the end of 1945, Koike was sent to Japan as a translator and interpreter. From the end of 1945 to the beginning of 1946,
while working in Japan for the United States Army, he was able to get time off to visit relatives in Japan. Koike was able
to go back to Japan in 1947 and 1948. After arriving back in the United States, Koike became a school teacher. Kenzo Koike
passed away on February 2, 2010 in Granada Hills, California at the age of 89. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Scope and Content note
This collection focuses on the early life of Kenzo Koike with the bulk of materials from 1921 to 1948. There are materials
from Koike’s early life in schools and military documents, which includes correspondence from Koike’s elementary school peers.
Most of the collection is photographs from his time in the army in Japan after World War II, including pictures of the rubble
caused by multiple bombings. These materials portray the life of a Japanese American before, during, and after World War II,
including artifacts, such as hats worn during his time in the Army. Through this collection, one can see the discrimination
of a Nisei Japanese American during the mid- 20th century.
This collection has been arranged in the following series:
Series 1: Personal records, 1932-1967 and undated
Series 2: Photographs, 1921-1948 and undated
Subseries 2.1: Albums, 1921-1946 and undated
Subseries 2.2: Portraits, 1921-1943 and undated
Subseries 2.3: Japan, 1945-1948 and undated
Series 3: Postal materials, 1918, 1932 and undated
Series 4: Realia, undated
These materials have been arranged alphabetically by folder title within each series and subseries.
Related materials providing information on Japanese American Internment may be found in the following collections in the Honnold/
Mudd Library Special Collections:
•H.Mss.0926, War Relocation Authority Records
•H.Mss.1047, Kruska Japanese Internment Collection
•H.Mss.1049, Yamano Japanese Internment Collection
•H.Mss.1052, Ken Tamura Papers
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.
Japanese Americans -- Archives
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
World War, 1939-1945--Japanese Americans
Genre and Form of Materials