Tatsumi Iwate Papers

Finding aid written by Marlon Romero.
Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Email: collections@janm.org
URL: http://www.janm.org/
© 2010
Japanese American National Museum. All rights reserved.

Finding aid for the Tatsumi Iwate Papers

Collection number: 2001.145

Descriptive Summary

Title: Tatsumi Iwate papers
Dates (inclusive): 1941-1981
Dates (bulk): 1941-1947
Collection number: 2001.145
Creator: Iwate, Tatsumi, 1917-1998
Collection Size: 1.5 linear feet
Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles, California 90012
Abstract: Sergeant Tatsumi Iwate served in the United States Army under the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team. This collection contains correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, and newspaper clippings.
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], Tatsumi Iwate Papers. 2001.145, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

Acquisition Information

Acquired in 2001 as a gift of the Iwate family.

Processing 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 and finished in 2010. Marlon Romero processed the collection and wrote the finding aid as Project Archivist; the Project Director, Yoko Shimojo, encoded the finding aid. Jamie Henricks edited the EAD encoding in 2017.

Biographical Note

This collection consists of numerous items pertaining to the military service of Sergeant Tatsumi Iwate during World War II. Sergeant Iwate was a Nisei man who served in the United States Army in the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Before the outbreak of World War II, the Iwate family lived in Lomita, California. His family was eventually sent to Jerome, Arkansas concentration camp while Tatsumi enlisted for military service in February 1942.
After completing training at Camp Shelby, Iwate worked part-time in the military publications department drawing and cutting stencils for the press. In February 1944, Iwate was officially promoted from Private to Sergeant. He served as Staff Sergeant of the Infantry, Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
On October 28, 1944 Sergeant Iwate was wounded during the 442nd's harrowing rescue of the Lost Battalion in Biffontaine, France. Although relieved of his temporary assignment as a litter bearer (one who helps carry a stretcher) and after having continuously evacuated wounded soldiers throughout the entire day, Sergeant Iwate volunteered to lead his litter squad into the midst of a fierce fire fight in order to evacuate an injured soldier. While evacuating the injured soldier Sgt. Iwate was hit in the head with shrapnel from enemy artillery fire. Disregarding his own injury he continued to help in the evacuation until forced by the seriousness of his wound to obtain medical aid. The wound in his head had to be covered by a metal plate. Eventually, he was flown back to the United States to be treated at Halloran Hospital in Staten Island, New York.
His outstanding courage and voluntary actions during the war earned him a Silver Star award, Purple Heart Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and three Bronze Service Stars.

Scope and Content

The administrative series is divided into two sub-series. The first consists of military related documents such as Sergeant Iwate's army records. The second sub-series has materials related to the 442nd Commemorative where Tatsumi Iwate played a role as the jacket designer for the publication Go For Broke: A pictorial history of the Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Both sub-series are arranged chronologically, documents without dates are located at the end of their respective folders.
The correspondence series consists of three sub-series: incoming, outgoing, and v-mail. The first two sub-series contains the correspondence received and sent by Sergeant Iwate. The last sub-series titled V-Mail consists of both incoming and outgoing correspondence in the Veterans-Mail format. The majority of the correspondence is between Tatsumi and his brother Masaji who was interned in Jerome. Each sub-series is chronologically arranged, documents without dates are located at the end of their respective folders.
The serials, publications, and other materials series contains newspaper clippings, pamphlets handed out by the United States Army, and materials on the 442nd Commemorative in 1981 held in The Presidio of San Francisco. There is also a directory on the 442nd.
The photograph series contain photographs from his album. There are photos of Sergeant Iwate and other military personnel, including soldiers whom he corresponded with. There are also some postcards. The photographs are in the original order of the photo album they were previously housed in.
The sketches series contain a handful of sketches created by Sergeant Iwate.

Related Materials

The museum holds many collections of other soldiers' personal papers and photographs, including Susumu Ito, George Oiye, Stanley Hayami, and others.

Indexing Terms

Iwate, Tatsumi
Iwate, Masaji
Japanese Americans
World War, 1939-1945
United States. Army. Regimental Combat Team, 442nd

Contents List

Box 1

Series 1 Administrative Records 1941-1981


Military Related 1941-1947


442nd Commemorative Related 1980-1981


Series 2 Correspondence 1942-1945







Box 2

Series 3 Publications, Directories, and Other Materials

Box 3

Series 4 Photographs


Series 5 Sketches