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Verified written reports in compliance with Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1920, 1921-1949 (bulk, 1930-1949)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • History of the California Alien Land Laws
  • Reports by Names and Years, 1921, 1930-1945 and 1947-1949
  • Related Records
  • Scope and Contents
  • Access Terms
  • Important Information for Users of the Collection

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: Verified written reports in compliance with Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1920,
    Date (inclusive): 1921-1949
    Date (bulk): (bulk, 1930-1949)
    Identification: SCG.00075
    Creator/Collector: San Francisco (Calif.). Clerk Sonoma County (Calif.). Clerk
    Physical Description: 0.3 linear feet 1 archival storage box
    Language of Materials: English
    Repository: Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library, Sonoma County Library
    Abstract: The collection consists of verified written reports from 65 depositions regarding Japanese-owned properties focused in Sonoma County, California. These reports compiled in compliance of Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1920 were filed between 1921 and 1949. They include names of trustee (s), names of minor (s), legal description of real property, and, for most cases, income and expenditures.

    History of the California Alien Land Laws

    California Alien Land Law of 1913

    The California Alien Land Law of 1913 (also known as the Webb-Haney Act) prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning agricultural land or possessing long-term leases over it, but permitted leases lasting up to three years. It affected the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California. Implicitly, the law was primarily directed at the Japanese. It passed thirty-five to two in the Senate and seventy-two to three in the Assembly and was co-written by attorney Francis J. Heney and California state attorney general Ulysses S. Webb at the behest of Governor Hiram Johnson. Japan's Consul General Kametaro Iijima and lawyer Juichi Soyeda lobbied against the law. In a letter to the United States Secretary of State, the Japanese government via the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs called the law "essentially unfair and inconsistent… with the sentiments of amity and good neighborhood which have presided over the relations between the two countries," and noted that Japan felt it was "in disregard of the spirit of the existing treaty between Japan and the United States." The law was meant to discourage immigration from Asia, and to create an inhospitable climate for immigrants already living in California. (Source: Wikipedia, accessed June 4, 2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Alien_Land_Law_of_1913)
    The Law included a provision that any property acquired in violation of the law would pass to the State of California: Sec. 5. Any real property hereaffer acquired in fee in violation of the provisions of this act by any alien mentioned in Section 2 of this act, or by any company, association, or corporation mentioned in Section 3 of this act, shall escheat to and become and remain the property of the State of California. The attorney- general shall institute proceedings to have the escheat of such real property adjudged and enforced in the manner provided by Section 474 of the Political Code, and Title 8, Part 3, of the Code of Civil Procedure. Upon the entry of final judgment in such proceedings the title to such real property 'shall pass to the State of California. The provisions of this'section and of Sections 2 and 3 of this act shall not apply to any real property hereafter acquired in the enforcement or in satisfaction of any lien -now existing upon or interest in such property so long as such real property so acquired shall remain the property of the alien company, association, or corporation acquiring the same in such manner. (Source: Collins, Charles Wallace. Will the California Alien Land Law stand the test of the Fourteenth Amendment? Yale Law Journal, vol. 23, issue 3, 1914, page 332. Accessed June 4, 2019. https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2346&context=ylj)

    California Alien Land Law of 1920

    The California Alien Land Law of 1920 continued the 1913 law while filling many of its loopholes. Among the loopholes filled were that the leasing of land for a period of three years or less was no longer allowed; owning of stock in companies that acquired agricultural land was forbidden; and guardians or agents of ineligible aliens were required to submit an annual report on their activities. The 1920 Alien Land Law was passed in reaction to the intensification of anti-Japanese sentiment, and to the fact that the 1913 Alien Land Law was doing little to stem Japanese immigration to California. The law was approved by the voters after being proposed by the California State Legislature. It passed with a vote of 668,438 to 222,086. The 1920 law was amended in 1923 to further fill wording-related loopholes.
    In 1923, the California Land Law of 1913 and similar laws in other states were upheld in the United States Supreme Court and were determined not to be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 1946 Supreme Court of California case People v. Oyama reaffirmed the 1923 decision, determining that Japanese immigrant Kajiro Oyama had attempted to evade the Alien Land Laws by purchasing farmland that he placed in the name of his son, who was a U.S. citizen. In fact, Oyama's petition to be named as his son's guardian in order to have authority over the land had been approved by a local court. This method was a major way in which the Japanese were able to acquire agricultural land during this period, since most other options were closed to them. The case was then reviewed by the United States Supreme Court in Oyama v. California after petitioning by the Oyamas and their supporters. The majority opinion held that Fred Oyama's rights as a U.S. citizen to take and hold property had been violated by the state of California. The decision was arguably instrumental in helping to bring about a shift in attitudes toward the Japanese and their property rights.

    Abolition of the Alien Land Laws

    The Alien Land Laws were invalidated in 1952 by the Supreme Court of California as a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution in Sei Fujii v. California. Fujii was a longtime Los Angeles resident, but was not a U.S. citizen. He alleged that the law violated the California and United States Constitutions, and that it also went against the spirit of the United Nations Charter to which the United States was bound by treaty. The California District Court of Appeal had decided in 1950 that the Alien Land Law was in violation of Articles 55 and 56 of the United Nations Charter. The Supreme Court of California then ordered the case transferred for hearing and settlement, as it was determined to be a sufficiently important question of law. (Source: Wikipedia, accessed June 4, 2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Alien_Land_Law_of_1913)

    Reports by Names and Years, 1921, 1930-1945 and 1947-1949

    Trustees and Minor Children

    Elliot, Albert H. and Guy C. Calden, trustees for Morio Tominaga: 1930-1933
    Fujita, George E., trustee for Tomoe Fujita: 1937
    Fujita, Henry Katsumi, brother of Eigi, Michi, and Tomoe Fujita: 1931-1936
    Fujita, Katsumi, brother of Eigi, Michi, and Tomoe Fujita: 1930
    Fujita, T., father of Katsumi, Eigi, Michi and Tomoe Fujita: 1930
    Hirooka, Niemon for child, Hideo Hirooka: 1930, 1931, 1932-1937
    Inagawa, Hichiro for Kiyoko Inagawa: 1948, 1949
    Kawaoka, Risuke, father of Mitsuto, Itsuo and Hideo Kawaoka: 1930-1938
    Kawaoka, Risuke, trustee of Hideo Kawaoka: 1939-1940
    Kawaoka, Risuke, trustee for Jitsuo Kawaoka: 1941-1945
    Kido, Saburo, trustee of estate of Henry Masuoka, minor: 1930-1931
    Kido, Saburo for Hiroshi, Kumiko and Mikio Taniguchi: 1947
    Kido, Saburo for Eiko and Sachio Yamamoto: 1948
    Komatsu, Shige, for son Aoba Komatsu: 1921
    Morita, T. for Raymond Morita: 1949
    Nakano, Juhachi, guardian of Kiyoko, Masaki, Toshiyuki and Hideo Nakano: 1930-1943
    Okazaki, K., for children, Mika, Kazuo and Makoto Okazaki: 1930-1931
    Yamaoka, Sensuke for Matsuyo, Hisako, Yoshiko and Kazuo Yamaoka: 1930-1931
    Yamaoka, Kayo, mother for Yoshiko and Kazuo Yamaoka: 1932-1937, 1940
    Yamaoka, Kayo, mother of Noboru, Hideko, Jeanne and Kazuo Yamaoka: 1942-1943


    Guy C. Calden: 1930-1933
    Elliot, Albert H. 1930-1933
    Fujita, George E. 1937
    Fujita, Henry Katsumi: 1931-1936
    Fujita, Katsumi: 1930
    Fujita, T. 1930
    Hiraoka, Niemon: 1930-1933, 1935-1937
    Inagawa, Hichiro: 1948-1949
    Kawaoka, Risuke: 1930-1945
    Kido, Saburo: 1930-31, 1947, 1948
    Komatsu, Shige: 1921
    Morita, T 1949
    Nakano,Juhachi: 1930-1931, 1938-1943
    Okazaki, K. 1930-1931
    Yamaoka, Sensuke: 1930-1931
    Yamaoka, Kayo: 1932-1937, 1940, 1941-1942

    Minor children

    Fujita, Eigi: 1930-1936
    Fujita, Katsumi: 1930
    Fujita, Michi: 1930-1936
    Fujita, Tomoe: 1930-1937
    Hirooka, Hideo: 1930-1933, 1935-1937
    Inagawa, Kiyoko: 1948-1949
    Kawaoka, Hideo: 1930-1940
    Kawaoka, Itsuo: 1930-1938
    Kawaoka, Jitsuo: 1941-1945
    Kawaoka, Mitsuto: 1930-1938
    Komatsu, Aoba: 1921
    Masuoka, Henry: 1930-1931
    Morita, Raymond: 1949
    Nakano, Hideo: 1930-1931, 1938-1943
    Nakano, Kiyoko: 1930-1931, 1938-1943
    Nakano,Masaki: 1930-1931, 1938-1943
    Nakano, Toshiyuki: 1930-1931, 1938-1943
    Okazaki, Kazuo: 1930-1931
    Okazaki, Makoto: 1930-1931
    Okazaki, Mika: 1930-1931
    Taniguchi, Hiroshi: 1947
    Taniguchi, Kumiko: 1947
    Taniguchi, Mikio: 1947
    Tominaga, Morio: 1930-1932
    Yamamoto, Eiko: 1948
    Yamamoto, Sachio: 1948
    Yamaoka, Hideko: 1942-1943
    Yamaoka, Hisako: 1930-1931
    Yamaoka, Jeanne: 1942-1943
    Yamaoka, Kazuo: 1930-1937, 1940, 1942-1943
    Yamaoka, Matsuyo: 1930-1931
    Yamaoka, Noboru: 1942-1943
    Yamaoka, Yoshiko: 1930-1937, 1940

    Related Records

    Copies of these and other reports are located in the California State Archives, located in Sacramento, California. They are listed in the Inventory of the Office of the Secretary of State Records, Part I ; digitized versions can be accessed through Ancestry.com: California, Alien Land Ownership Records, 1921-1952 (includes 879 entries for Sonoma County).
    California. Secretary of State
    Title: Alien Land Law Reports
    Date (inclusive): 1921-1952
    Identifier/Call Number: #1-6000

    Scope and Contents

    Official reports as recorded by the Clerk of San Francisco and Sonoma Counties.

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Arranged in 19 annual series; arranged alphabetically by filer last name within each year.

    Access Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection.

    Personal Names (Persons Filing Deposition)

    Calden, Guy C.
    Elliot, Albert H.
    Fujita, George E.
    Fujita, Henry Katsumi
    Fujita, Katsumi
    Fujita, T.
    Hirooka, Niemon
    Inagawa, Hichiro
    Kawaoka, Risuke
    Kawaoka, Risuke,
    Kido, Saburo
    Kiyoko Inagawa
    Komatsu, Shige
    Morita, T.
    Nakano, J.
    Nakano, Juhachi
    Okazaki, K.
    Yamaoka, Kayo
    Yamaoka, Sensuke

    Personal Names (Title Owners)

    Fujita, Eigi
    Fujita, Katsumi
    Fujita, Michi
    Fujita, Tomoe
    Hichiro, Inagawa,
    Hirooka, Hideo
    Inagawa, Kiyoko
    Kawaoka, Hideo
    Kawaoka, Itsuo
    Kawaoka, Jitsuo
    Kawaoka, Mitsuto
    Komatsu, Aoba
    Masuoka, Henry
    Morita, Raymond
    Nakano, Hideo
    Nakano, Kiyoko
    Nakano, Masaki
    Nakano, Tosbiyuki
    Nakano, Toshiyuki
    Okazaki, Kazuo
    Okazaki, Makoto
    Okazaki, Mika
    Taniguchi, Hiroshi
    Taniguchi, Kumiko
    Taniguchi, Mikio
    Tominaga, Morio
    Yamamoto, Eiko
    Yamamoto, Sachio
    Yamaoka, Hideko
    Yamaoka, Hisako
    Yamaoka, Jeanne
    Yamaoka, Kazuo
    Yamaoka, Matsuyo
    Yamaoka, Noboru
    Yamaoka, Yoshiko

    Geographic Terms

    California--Laws, statutes, etc.

    Topical Terms

    Japanese--United State
    Japanese Americans-- United State
    Japanese--California--Sonoma County
    Japanese Americans-- California--Sonoma County
    Land tenure--Law and legislation--California
    Race discrimination

    Genre and Format Terms

    Official reports
    Archival materials

    Important Information for Users of the Collection

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access Information

    This collection is partially processed. Please contact the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library for access; for contact info and current hours, see https://sonomalibrary.org/locations/sonoma-county-history-and-genealogy-library

    Conditions of Use

    Collection does not circulate and may be photocopied or photographed by arrangement only.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the Sonoma County Library. The Sonoma County Library has made this collection available and believes that the collection is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Collection may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Preferred credit line is: Courtesy, the Sonoma County Library. Please see additional reproduction and reuse information at https://sonomalibrary.org/locations/sonoma-county-history-and-genealogy-library/order-photo
    [Identification of item], Verified written reports in compliance with Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1920, 1921-1949. SCG.00075, History and Genealogy Library, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA.
    Gift:: donor and date of donation unknown