Scope and Content
Title: Chica Sugino papers
Dates (inclusive): 1910s-1980s
Dates (bulk): 1940s
Collection number: 99.99
Sugino, Chica, 1888-1986
4 linear feet
Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles, California 90012
Abstract: Chica Sugino was an Issei research analyst for Alexander Leighton, head of the War Relocation Authority's (WRA) Sociological
Research Bureau at Poston Relocation Center. Her research contributed to Leighton's book, The Governing of Men, one of the
first monographs published on the Japanese American wartime experience. The collection contains photographs, correspondence,
research notes, manuscript drafts, newspapers, audio recordings, and WRA publications spanning from the 1910s to the 1980s.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 (email@example.com).
[Identification of item], Chica Sugino papers. 99.99, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.
Chica Sugino was an Issei research analyst for Alexander Leighton, head of the WRA's Sociological Research Bureau at Poston.
Her research contributed to Leighton's book, The Governing of Men, one of the first monographs published on the Japanese American
Born Chica Tadakuma in 1888 in Taiwan, Sugino spent most of her early childhood in Japan. In 1906, she and her family came
to the United States where her father worked as a cobbler and her mother as a teacher and seamstress. With the family struggling
financially, in 1915, Sugino's father arranged for her and her older sister to take ballet lessons in the hopes that they
would be able to earn a living performing on stage. Unsuccessful in vaudeville, Sugino and her sister traveled to Hollywood
to find work in movies and to establish themselves as performers. Sugino's career as an entertainer was cut short, however,
when her sister eloped in 1917.
Leaving show business behind her, Sugino attended USC on a scholarship, where she studied sociology and graduated in 1924.
That same year she married Kenzo Arthur Sugino, one of the first practicing Issei optometrists in Little Tokyo. Together,
the couple had three children: Arthur (aka Techy) in 1925, Paul in 1927, and Elizabeth in 1931. After the bombing of Pearl
Harbor, their family life was disrupted when Kenzo was arrested by the FBI and incarcerated at the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) center in Tujunga as an alien enemy. Sugino and her children were forced to relocate to Poston, Arizona where
Kenzo eventually joined them. During her time at Poston, Sugino worked as a research analyst for the Sociological Research
Bureau, simultaneously earning course credit from the University of Chicago's graduate program in sociology. After she and
her family returned to Los Angeles, Sugino was active in the Women's Welfare Service program, organizing donations of old
stockings to provide work for women in Japan. At the age of 98, Sugino passed away in 1986.
Scope and Content
The Chica Sugino Papers contain photographs, correspondence, research notes, manuscript drafts, newspapers, audio recordings,
and WRA publications spanning from the 1910s to the 1980s. The bulk of the collection consists of materials dating from the
early 1940s related to Sugino's research for the WRA's Sociological Research Bureau on the forced exclusion of Japanese Americans.
The collection also contains a great deal of materials documenting Sugino's wartime experience at the Poston concentration
camp. Also in the collection are microfilmed reels of camp and assembly center newspapers. During her later years, Sugino
devoted her time to writing a manuscript based on her life. Drafts and a complete copy of her unpublished book can be found
in the collection as well as audio reel recordings of Sugino reading aloud her manuscript.
In processing the collection, the materials were reorganized by series since there did not appear to be any preexisting organization.
Original folder titles were retained with titles assigned by the processor indicated with brackets.
The collection is organized into eleven series.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
World War, 1939-1945
Poston Relocation Center (Ariz.)
United States. War Relocation Authority. Sociological Research Bureau