Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Availability of Digital Reproductions
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Digital Reproductions
  • CSU Japanese American Digitization Project
  • Atsushi Art Ishida Collection
  • Scope and Contents
  • Separated Materials
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Contributing Institution: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections
    Title: George and Mitzi Naohara Papers
    Creator: Naohara, George, 1919-2014
    Creator: Naohara, Mitzi, 1923-2021
    Creator: Yoshimura, Eileen
    Identifier/Call Number: SPC.2017.011
    Physical Description: 13 boxes (6 flat binder boxes, 3 document boxes, 2 short top boxes, 1 flat box, and 1 carton, including DVDs)
    Physical Description: 9.03 Linear Feet (13 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1902-2010; undated
    Date (bulk): 1942-1945
    Date (bulk): 1950-1959
    Abstract: This collection contains photo albums and scrapbooks compiled by George Naohara and Mitzi (Masukawa) Naohara, other materials depicting their experiences during World War II and the Korean War, the postwar camp reunion and pilgrimage, and the Gardena Buddhist Church activities in which George Naohara engaged after the war. Most of the items in this collection have been digitized and available online.
    Material Specific Details: English translations, synopses, and brief descriptions for Japanese language materials are available at the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project site.
    Language of Material: English , Japanese .

    Conditions Governing Access

    There are no access restrictions on this collection.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    In 2015, Mitzi Naohara donated to the Gerth Archives and Special Collections, "Butsudan," a Buddhist altar made by hand by her brother-in-law in the Jerome camp in Arkansas during the war; two photo albums and scrapbooks in 2018; books, DVDs, film wheels, and a happi coat and belt in 2019.
    In 2019, Eileen Yoshimura, a daughter of George and Mitzi Naohara, agreed to donate to the Gerth Archives and Special Collections, the documents which consist of her family papers and term papers along with audio cassette tapes prepared for a history class in 1974 when she was a student at CSU Dominguez Hills. She conducted interviews with her parents, uncle, and aunt and collected and analyzed their incarceration experiences during the war.
    Additional items were donated to the Gerth Archives and Special Collections by Eileen Yoshimura in 2021 after Mitzi Naohara's passing. Included are materials regarding George and Mitzi Naohara's claims for the losses of their real and personal property filed under the Act of July 2, 1948, Gardena Buddhist Church activities, and postwar camp pilgrimage and reunion.

    Availability of Digital Reproductions

    Most of the items in this collection has been digitized and the digital reproductions are available at the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project site: George and Mitzi Naohara Papers Digital Collection .


    Arranged in four series:
    1. Immigration, World War II incarceration, and Korean War experiences
    2. Postwar camp reunion and pilgrimage
    3. Postwar Gardena Buddhist Church and Shinto activities
    4. Gardena Buddhist Church, Buddhist Church of America, and other publications

    Biographical / Historical

    George Nobuo Naohara (1919 August 17–2014 June 30) was Kibei Nisei, who was born in the United States, educated in Japan, and returned to Los Angeles, California prior to World War II. He left Japan, following in his uncle's footsteps but struck out on his own. He met the Masukawa family in Los Angeles and learned that Mrs. Koyuta Masukawa was a relative of his acquaintance and originally immigrated from Hiroshima, Japan, from which he also had come. He became a close friend to the family and married Mitzi Masukawa (1923 March 16-2021 January 11), one of the family's daughters, later.
    He was one of the earlier group of incarcerees who were sent to the Manzanar incarceration camp in California during the war, and met other Kibei Nisei men in the camp. He and his Kibei Nisei friends were granted the permit to leave for work and worked in labor farms in Idaho and Utah. During his labor contract, he met one of the Masukawa family members who had been incarcerated in the Jerome incarceration camp in Arkansas, and decided to "reinduction" to the Jerome camp, instead returning to the Manzanar camp. He requested for reinduction, claiming that he became unable to work due to disability. He was incarcerated in the Jerome camp as he wished but applied for repatriation/expatriation to Japan, and was transferred to the Tule Lake Segregation Center in California. After the war ended, he did not return to Japan but settled in Chicago, Illinois. During the Allied Occupation of Japan, he learned that no one but military personnel were allowed to contact his/her family members in Japan. Since his mother was ill and had remained in Japan, he decided to join the U.S. Army, hoping to see her, and attended the language training school in California. He was stationed in Japan after the training, served for the Korean War as a MIS interpreter, and was discharged due to his illness at the end. Later, he operated a barbershop with his wife in Gardena, California, and also was devoted to Buddhist Church activities for his whole life.
    Tomosuke Masukawa was an Issei immigrant and arrived at Tacoma, Washington in 1898. He was a railroad worker for the Santa Fe Railroad, a coalminer in Montana, and a farm labor in Fresno, California. Later, he moved to Los Angeles and farmed in Southern California. Koyuta Masukawa was a picture bride and sent to him in 1909, and their eight children were born in California. The Masukawa family resided in Long Beach, California prior to the war and left for Reedley, California, fleeing from the exclusion. However, the family received the order and was imprisoned in the Poston camp in Arizona, later. During her incarceration, Mitzi (Masukawa) Naohara was a preschool teacher and joined activities of a young Nisei women's club, "Sigma Debs," which mainly consisted of female basketball players at Reedley High School.

    Preferred Citation

    For information about citing archival material, see the Citations for Archival Material  guide, or consult the appropriate style manual.

    Processing Information

    Some of the film reels were digitized by the donor and the transferred digitized moving images were normalized to the MXF format for preservation. The access derivatives were produced in the MP4 format.
    The collection was processed and English translations, synopses and brief descriptions for Japanese language materials were prepared by Yoko Okunishi.

    Digital Reproductions

    The Gerth Archives and Special Collections created digital reproductions from original items for long-term preservation and electronic access, adhering to best practice and standards to ensure the authenticity, integrity, and security of material. Some access files have been redacted to protect personal identifiable information and others have been compressed for greater efficiency online. For more information on digitization process, please see CSU Japanese American Digitization Project technical reference guide .
    Some of the items in this collection have been digitized. The set of digital reproduction preservation files along with normalized moving image files is stored on the Gerth Archives and Special Collections' department drive for both preservation purposes and duplication requests. The entire pages of the four albums were digitized to preserve the structures and compilation prior to being dismantled. The digital reproduction files are saved on the department' drive for preservation purposes only.
    The set of digital reproduction access files (access derivatives) created for the digital management system is stored on the Gerth Archives and Special Collections' department external drive for staff use.
    One of the audio materials in the collection has been digitized by the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) and available at Internet Archive .

    CSU Japanese American Digitization Project

    This collection is part of the California State University Japanese American Digitization Project. Other collections about the history of Japanese Americans are found in the digital repository: CSU Japanese American Digitization Project .

    Atsushi Art Ishida Collection

    Atsushi Art Ishida is Kibei Nisei and a close friend of George Naohara. They both were incarcerated in the same camps during the war and participated in Korean War. The two collections are intermingled because of their shared experiences. For the further information, please see the Atsushi Art Ishida Collection finding aid .

    Scope and Contents

    The George and Mitzi Naohara Papers consists of photo albums and scrapbooks compiled by George and Mitzi Naohara, and other materials pertaining to the Naohara and Masukawa family. Included are photographs, correspondence, and documents depicting their experiences during World War II, photographs taken during the U.S. Army language school training and the Korean War, and books, moving images (film reels and DVDs), and artifacts representing George Naohara's participation in the Gardena Buddhist Church activities after the war.
    George Naohara is Kibei Nisei, and his wartime experiences include his farm labor in Idaho and Utah; and incarceration in the Manzanar, Jerome, and Tule Lake camps. Mitzi Naohara was a preschool teacher at the Poston camp in Arizona, and also joined activates of a young Nisei women's club, "Sigma Debs." Her memorabilia depicts her life as a teacher and social events in the Poston camp during the war.

    Separated Materials

    The collection includes the following books which were separately cataloged. The cataloging records are available through the CSUDH Library catalog and WorldCat:
    • Goldstein, Donald M., and Harry J. Maihafer. 2000. The Korean War: the story and photographs. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/43095745
    • United States. 1987. Colorado River Relocation Center, Poston, Arizona: 1942-1945. [Place of publication not identified]: TecCom Productions. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/20283387

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Gerth Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Gerth Archives and Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1944-1945 -- Archives
    Japanese Americans -- History -- 20th century
    Korean War, 1950-1953
    Japanese Americans -- California -- Los Angeles -- Religious life and customs
    Naohara, George, 1919-2014 -- Archives
    Naohara, Mitzi, 1923-2021 -- Archives
    Military Intelligence Service Language School (U.S.)
    Manzanar Incarceration Camp
    Tule Lake Segregation Center
    Jerome Incarceration Camp
    Poston Incarceration Camp