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Finding aid for the Murai Family Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Project Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Murai Family papers
    Dates: 1940-1945
    Bulk Dates: bulk 1942-1945
    Collection number: 2002.134
    Creator: Murai family
    Collection Size: 0.75 linear feet
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    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], Murai Family papers. 2002.134, 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 Meghan Potter, with assistance from the Project Archivist in 2009.


    Koh Murai was a chemist, writer and editor of the "Beikoku Sangyo Nippo" (American Industrial Daily) newspaper in Los Angeles from 1936 to 1941. He also edited a commemorative book about Japanese American industry published on the 2600th anniversary of the Japanese imperial line, in 1940. His wife, Mitzu (Fukai), was a teacher from Fukushima who immigrated to the United States in 1913.
    After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Koh Murai was arrested immediately and taken to Fort Missoula, Montana. During the war, he was incarcerated in Fort Livingston, Louisiana, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Rohwer, Arkansas. Kotaro left the Tanforan Assembly Center for Lincoln, Nebraska to attend the University of Nebraska, then the University of Minnesota to study Organic Chemistry. Throughout this period, Koh and Kotaro on maintained frequent letter correspondence in English. Koh Murai inquired after his son's well being, sent money for school, and encouraged him to study hard.
    At some point it appears that Koh Murai was hired by the government to promote resettlement to camp residents. After the war, the parents relocated to Denver, Colorado, where Mitzu worked as a nurse at a Catholic hospital. Koh later wrote a pamphlet in Japanese entitled the "U.S. Citizenship Reader," a guide for Issei taking the naturalization exam (also in the permanent collection under ID number 97.154.35).
    After Kotaro Murai passed away, his wife Mary Murai donated the letters, ephemera, photographs and book edited by Koh Murai to the Japanese American National Museum.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains letters, ephemera, a book and several photographs. It is divided into four series: Correspondence, Photographs, Ephemera and Publications.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Murai, Koh
    Murai, Kotaro
    Japanese Americans
    New Mexico
    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
    Japanese Americans