Scope and Content
Additional collection guides:
Title: Sakamoto-Sasano Family collection
Dates (inclusive): 1908-1998
Dates (bulk): 1942-1945
Collection number: 2018.10
4 linear feet (9 boxes)
Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles, California 90012
Creator: Sasano, Taye Sakamoto
Creator: Takahashi, Chiyoko Sakamoto
Creator: Sasano, Frances Kazuko
Creator: Yoshida, Louise Atsuko Sasano
Abstract: This collection contains documents, objects, and ephemera from the Sakamoto-Sasano family. The belongings of matriarch Taye
Sakamoto Sasano, her sister Chiyoko Sakamoto Takahashi, and her two daughters Louise Sasano Yoshida and Frances Sasano make
up the bulk of the collection. Yearbooks, school notebooks, scrapbooks, diaries, and notes from friends characterize Frances
and Louise's lives as teens and young adults experiencing incarceration. Photos, citizenship documents, business cards, and
letters characterize lives of familial support and financial success and after being released from camp. Letters from Richard
DeQueiroz, Frances' partner she met in camp, illustrate the trying transition between camp and life after incarceration through
the perspective of young adults in love.
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 (email@example.com). Advanced notice is
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
[Identification of item], Sakamoto-Sasano Family Collection. 2018.10, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.
The collection was acquired in 2018 as a gift of Scott and Jennifer Yoshida.
Though many of the items were identified and labeled by the Sakamoto-Sasano family prior to donation, the items were fully
processed and described by Megan Waldau. A container list and finding aid was created by Megan Waldau in 2019.
Taye (b. March 5, 1901) immigrated to the United States from Japan aboard the American Maru on January 2, 1903 with her mother
Kume Sakamoto (b. September 3, 1883) and her father Hisamatsu Sakamoto (d. 1925). Taye attended school in Napa, California
from 1908 to 1917 until she moved with her family to Boyle Heights, Los Angeles and attended high school at Polytechnic High
School. Her sister, Chiyoko (b. June 30, 1912), was born in the United States, automatically making her an American citizen.
After the early passing of her and Taye's father and because of her citizenship status, Chiyoko was required to work at a
young age to support her family. In high school, Chiyoko worked in a law office in Los Angeles as a law secretary, where she
was introduced to the legal profession. After graduating from American University in Los Angeles in 1938, Chiyoko was the
first Asian American woman to pass the California State Bar Examination. She later opened her own private practice in an office
adjacent to the historic Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, later a part of the original location of the Japanese American National
Museum in Los Angeles.
Taye married Yoshikichi Sasano and raised her children, daughters Frances (b. August 5, 1926) and Louise (b. January 6, 1929)
and son Allen (b. February 15, 1933), in Santa Maria, California until Executive Order 9066 mandated the forced removal of
Japanese Americans from the West Coast. Yoshikichi was taken by the FBI and incarcerated at the Tuna Canyon Detention Center.
Taye moved her family to meet Chiyoko in Los Angeles so they would not be separated during their move to Santa Anita Assembly
The Sakamoto-Sasano family was later relocated to Granada (Amache) Relocation Center where they reunited with Yoshikichi.
At Amache, the daughters attended and excelled at school, Amache Junior High and Amache High School. Louise and Frances collected
their school-days ephemera into scrapbooks, including dance invitations, paper crafts made with limited resources, club installation
social fliers, doodles and notes from friends.
Frances left Amache early on a program to attend college in Connecticut while being housed by a family in exchange for babysitting
services. Before she left Amache, she was dating Richard DeQueiroz (b. August 27, 1927), a fellow student at Amache High School
from Los Angeles. When she left, they decided to write to each other every day until they were reunited. Richard and Frances
reunited at Amache to see their families for Christmas in 1944 and got secretly engaged to be married on June 22nd, 1948 or
1949, after they had grown up a bit and finished college. Their correspondence continued for four years but they never married.
While at Amache, Chiyoko served as legal counsel and provided guidance to residents. She left Amache early to marry Tooru
Takahashi, a fellow Amachean. He took up farming and formed a partnership with Jorge Kondo, a Mexican-born Japanese lettuce
grower, to create KITTYs Vegetable Distributors Inc., where Chiyoko served as legal counsel while maintaining her own private
law practice. After the rest of the family was released from Amache, the family moved back to Los Angeles to rebuild their
life together. Louise, Chiyoko, Taye, Taye's mother Kume, and Louise's brother Allen all lived together in one home.
Louise Sasano graduated from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles in the spring of 1946. This was where Taye took citizenship
classes at night in 1954, in preparation for the naturalization test, where she was a part of the first wave of Issei (first
generation Japanese immigrants) to obtain citizenship. After finishing school at Hartford Junior College in Connecticut, Frances
returned home to Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California (USC). She graduated in 1954 with a degree
in social studies, and moved to New York City to work for the United Nations. Frances would later work for the Times-Mirror
Company (now the Los Angeles Times), Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Studios, and other movie industry studios in audience research.
The post-war period was difficult for Louise as she sometimes struggled to make ends meet while working at typing and bookkeeping
jobs. After a divorce, Louise took an offer from her mother and sister to move in with them. Louise's son (and donor of this
collection), Scott Yoshida, was raised in the home of women who truly supported each other.
Chiyoko helped Louise and hired at her Uncle Tooru's vegetable business (and later Chiyoko's business after Tooru's passing
in 1982) and take Louise and Frances on vacations to China, Greece, Turkey, Washington D.C., and more. Chiyoko retired from
her private law practice in 1990 at the age of 78.
Taye helped maintain the household while Louise and Frances worked, and despite having a severe heart attack, Taye was energetic
and did not slow down until the last few years of her life. Frances retired in 2001 to take care of Louise, suffering from
colon cancer. After Louise passed, Frances moved into the post-war Los Angeles home to be closer to Louise's son Scott and
his family. Frances was the last of her generation in the family and lived by the philosophy "family comes first" to the very
end. These women are survived by Scott Yoshida and his family.
Sakamoto-Sasano family members:
- Kume Sakamoto (9/3/1883-11/30/1973)
- Hisamatsu Sakamoto (d. 1925)
- Taye Sakamoto Sasano (3/5/1901-7/29/1989)
- Yoshikichi Sasano (2/1/1890-7/1971)
- Chiyoko Sakamoto Takahashi (6/30/1912-12/2/1994)
- Tooru Takahashi (8/30/1919-7/23/1982)
- Gene Akira Sakamoto (7/14/1904-1/23/1981)
- Richard Kiyoshi Sakamoto (9/24/1919-8/2/2003)
- Frances Kazuko Sasano (8/5/1926-5/18/2014)
- Louise Atusuko Sasano Yoshida (1/6/1929-2/12/2001)
- Allen Hideki Sasano (2/15/1933-12/2/2014)
- Scott Yoshida (b. 3/24/1956)
Scope and Content
This collection contains schoolwork, photographs, diaries, autograph books, scrapbooks, yearbooks, letters, immigrant identification
documents, jewelry, and other ephemera. Photographs range from 1908 to 1998, while documents, schoolwork, and other ephemera
are mainly from camp years 1942 to 1945. There is a detailed list of all items in the collection linked below.
Materials are arranged thematically, and into groupings based on the family member represented when possible.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
Granada Relocation Center
Additional collection guides: