Taisuke Yasukochi Family Letters

Finding aid created by Emily Mun.
Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Email: collections@janm.org
URL: http://www.janm.org/
© 2020
Japanese American National Museum. All rights reserved.

Finding aid for the Taisuke Yasukochi Family Letters

Collection number: 2004.27

Descriptive Summary

Title: Taisuke Yasukochi Family letters
Dates (inclusive): 1942-1944
Collection number: 2004.27
Collection Size: .4 linear feet (1 box)
Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles, California 90012
Creator: Nagata, Alethea (Yasukochi)
Abstract: The letters in this collection were written by members of the Yasukochi family between 1942 and 1944. The contents are mostly addressed to Taisuke Yasukochi, the head of the Yasukochi household, while he was at the Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico Department of Justice camps.
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 (collections@janm.org). 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 (collections@janm.org).

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Taisuke Yasukochi Family Letters. 2004.27, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

Acquisition Information

The collection was acquired in 2003 as a gift of Alethea (Yasukochi) Nagata.

Processing Information

The collection was processed at an earlier date; the contents were re-inventoried by Jamie Henricks and a finding aid was created in 2020 by Emily Mun.

Biographical Note

Taisuke Yasukochi (1900-1971) was born in 1900 in Fukuoka, Japan and immigrated to the United States around 1915. He became very involved in the Kasuya prefecture group and his local Buddhist temple after arriving in the US. Taisuke and his wife, Kane, had eight children and farmed strawberries and chili peppers in Oceanside, California before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Taisuke was arrested by the FBI and sent to San Diego Jail after his initial arrest and then to Lordsburg, New Mexico. Taisuke and his father, Kiso Yasukochi, were held in Santa Fe, New Mexico while the rest of Yasukochi family members were incarcerated at Poston in Arizona. Taisuke and his father were reunited with their family at Poston and they eventually returned to Oceanside where Taisuke continued to farm after the war.

Scope and Content

This collection includes materials collected by Alethea (Yasukochi) Nagata, dating from 1942 to 1944, relating to her family’s incarceration at Lordsburg, New Mexico and Poston, Arizona. A majority of these letters were addressed to or written by the donor’s father, Taisuke Yasukochi. The bulk of the collection contains letters that detail correspondence between Taisuke and various friends and family members. A majority of the letters were written by Taisuke Yasukochi, his daughters Michi, Jane and Kyo, his siblings George Yasukochi, Martha Hirose and Sakae Yasukochi, and his friend June Yoshimura. Martha was initially at Heart Mountain, but later transferred to Poston to be closer to the rest of her family.
The collection also includes postcards, personal photographs, a receipt, and corresponding envelopes. Many of the letters detail daily life in the Department of Justice camps, business pertaining to the Yasukochi farm in Oceanside, and correspondence surrounding affidavits relating to Taisuke’s possible transfer to Poston, where his family was located. The Yasukochi collection provides details of life in the various camps where Taisuke and his family were incarcerated. It also documents the personal struggles of a family separated from each other and trying to communicate with one another. Researchers may find it helpful to look at the Yasukochi collection in order to learn more about various aspects of camp life and the process of transfer from the Department of Justice-administered internment camps to the camps that the War Relocation Authority administered.

Related Materials

The National Archives has multiple documents that relate to Taisuke Yasukochi and the Yasukochi family. The UC Davis Department of Irrigation has a photograph of Taisuke Yasukochi on his chili farm in Oceanside. The Japanese American National Museum has an extensive collection of letters and items relating to Poston and Lordsburg, as well as a collection donated by Taisuke’s half brother, Fred Yasukochi, mostly relating to Fred’s service with the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion during World War II (94.70).


Original arrangement was preserved.

Indexing Terms

Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
Poston Relocation Center (Ariz.)
Lordsburg Internment Camp (N.M.)
Heart Mountain Relocation Center (Wyo.)
Letters--20th century