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Finding aid for the JAMA Life History Project Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Project Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: JAMA Life History Project records
    Dates: 1911-2004
    Bulk Dates: (bulk 1942-1948)
    Collection number: 2005.138
    Creator: Japanese American Medical Association, 1947-present
    Collection Size: 1.5 linear feet
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Abstract: The Japanese American Medical Association Life History Project was started in 2002 with funding from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program in conjunction with the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Japanese American National Museum. This project sought to tell the stories of a generation of Nisei, second generation Japanese Americans, physicians who directed health care while interned in concentration camps during World War II. Silent Scars of Healing Hands: Oral Histories of Japanese American Doctors in World War II Detention Camps is written by oral historian Gwenn Jensen, PhD., and writer Naomi Hirahara. This collection contains writing documents of the publication and transcripts and various media copies of photographs and interviews.
    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 by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], JAMA Life History Project records. 2005.138, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2007. Project Archivist was Yoko Shimojo. Processed by Christine Sakamoto, with assistance from the Project Archivist in 2009.

    Biography / Administrative History

    The Japanese American Medical Association (JAMA) was created in 1947 to promote and maintain a social, cultural, scientific and educational exchange of information and experiences among its members. It originally served its members in the social and professional capacity, as Japanese Americans were typically not included in hospital privileges in the postwar era. JAMA represents more than fifty-five specialties within the Southern California area, primarily the Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties. JAMA is recognized as a tax-exempt charitable organization and sponsors a scholarship program, Hiroshima A-bomb survivor care and projects like Silent Scars of Healing Hands.
    Gordon H. Sasaki, M.D. received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College and medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He had his general surgery training as well as fellowships in surgical oncology and breast cancer research at the University of Oregon Medical Center and served as an anesthesiologist during military service in Vietnam. Dr. Sasaki is a board-certified member of plastic surgery and a member of many American and international plastic surgery associations. Dr. Sasaki has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers in established journals, 40 chapters in recognized textbooks, and authored two plastic surgical books and five booklets. Dr. Sasaki has continued to be active in the Japanese American Medical Association for Southern California, having served as its president for six years (1999-2004).
    The project was started in 2002 with funding from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program in collaboration with the UCLA Asian American Studies department. This project sought to tell the stories of a generation of Nisei physicians who directed health care behind barbed wires. The Silent Scars of Healing Hands sheds light on and preserves the stories of Japanese American physicians who worked in hospitals in U.S. "detention camps" during World War II. These narratives are meant to share the conditions of healthcare in camps as well as illuminate the discrimination faced by Japanese Americans in earning medical degrees and practicing medicine before, during and after the war.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection includes interview transcriptions, rough drafts, final drafts, photographs and scans of various personal documents of the interviewees. The items were collected during the 2002 to 2004 period. The content of these items covers lives of the interviewees from the early 1910's to the 2000's. The bulk of the oral histories are stories about practicing medicine in concentration camps during World War II.
    The collection is organized by type of document and then subdivided by individual. The collection is organized into five series.
    Series 1: Documents, 2002-2003 (23 folders)

    Review draft and final copies of interview transcripts of doctors and their respective originals and copies of photographs, correspondence, certificates, circa vitae and periodicals. In a separate folder are all the photograph releases and documents pertaining to the logistics of the project in its entirety. Another folder contains the final narrative report. The final folder contains correspondence regarding the project as a whole.
    Series 2: Photographs (1 CD)

    Scanned JPEG and TIF copies of photographs, correspondence, certificates, circa vitae and periodical clippings of respective interviewees. Photo of JAMA team.
    Series 3: Digital Documents 2002-2003 (2 CDs)

    Copies of the interview transcript, title page and summaries originally on floppy disks compiled onto compact disks.
    Series 4: Floppy Disks, 2002-2003 (19 disks)

    Copies of the interview transcripts, title page and summaries.
    Series 5: Audio Tapes, 2002-2003 (43 tapes)

    Audiocassette tapes of interviews

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Japanese American Medical Association
    Japanese American physicians
    Japanese Americans
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
    World War II