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Kenzo Robert Koike Papers,

Identifier: H-Mss-1048

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content note

This collection focuses on the early life of Kenzo Koike with the bulk of materials from 1921 to 1948. There are materials from Koike's early life in schools and military documents, which includes correspondence from Koike's elementary school peers. Most of the collection is photographs from his time in the Army in Japan after World War II, including pictures of the rubble caused by multiple bombings. These materials portray the life of a Japanese American before, during, and after World War II, including artifacts, such as hats worn during his time in the Army. Through this collection, one can see the discrimination of a Nisei Japanese American during the mid- 20th century.


  • Creation: 1921-1967 and undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1921 - 1948


Language of materials

Materials are primarily in English, some materials in Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

Biographical/Historical note

Kenzo Robert Koike was born in Seattle, Washington in 1920 to Japanese immigrants. At the age of 12, his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where he attended junior high school, high school, and Los Angeles City College, where he participated in many sports, including wrestling, basketball, and swimming. A year after graduating college, Koike and his family were relocated to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming and forced into internment, where he worked for Keeshin Motor Express Co., Inc. He was then drafted by the United States Army in 1943 and eventually became a rifleman and worked for military Intelligence. By the end of 1945, Koike was sent to Japan as a translator and interpreter. From the end of 1945 to the beginning of 1946, while working in Japan the United States Army, he was able to get time off to visit relatives in Japan. Koike was able to go back to Japan in 1947 and 1948. After arriving back in the United States, Koike became a school teacher. Kenzo Koike passed away on February 2, 2010 in Granada Hills, California at the age of 89. He is survived by his wife and daughter.


2 Linear Feet (4 document box + 1 clamshell box)


Kenzo R. Koike was a Japanese American, born in 1920 in Seattle, Washington. At the age of 12, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended middle school, high school, and college. In 1942, the Koike family was removed from their Los Angeles home and sent to Heart Mountain Relocation center in Wyoming. By 1943, Kenzo Koike was drafted into the United States Army, where he served as a translator in Japan from 1945 to 1946. This collection includes documents and photographs from Koike’s youth in Seattle and Los Angeles, including diplomas, year books, and registration cards. It also contains military documents and photographs from Koike’s time in Japan, depicting bombings after World War II, traditional Japanese dress, and Koike’s relatives. In addition, a garrison hat and an aviator hat from the war are located in this collection. Postcards of barracks in Fort Sheridan and correspondence with Koike’s peers in Seattle are also in this collection.

Arrangement note

This collection has been arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Personal records, 1932-1967 and undated

Series 2: Photographs, 1921-1948 and undated

Subseries 2.1: Albums, 1921-1946 and undated

Subseries 2.2: Portraits, 1921-1943 and undated

Subseries 2.3: Japan, 1945-1948 and undated

Series 3: Postal materials, 1918, 1932 and undated

Series 4: Realia, undated

These materials have been arranged alphabetically by folder title within each series and subseries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased, 2013.


No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Location note

Please consult repository.

Related Material

Related materials providing information on Japanese American Internment may be found in the following collections in the Honnold/ Mudd Library Special Collections:

•H.Mss.0926, War Relocation Authority Records

•H.Mss.1047, Kruska Japanese Internment Collection

•H.Mss.1049, Yamano Japanese Internment Collection

•H.Mss.1052, Ken Tamura Papers

General note

This collection forms part of the Japanese American Relocation Project Collections held at Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library.

Processing Information

Processed by Phoebe Huth in 2014 in the Claremont Center for Engagement with Primary Sources (CCEPS), with assistance from Lisa Crane. In order to process this collection, photographs were taken out of their frames and placed in mylar sleeves. The frames were discarded. All photographs were also placed in mylar sleeves. Rolled photographs were flattened and folded correspondence was unfolded in order to preserve and store the materials. A newspaper clipping was photocopied onto acid free paper and the original disposed.

Guide to the Kenzo Robert Koike Papers
Phoebe Huth, CCEPS Fellow, Fall 2014
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the 01 - Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library Repository

800 North Dartmouth Ave
Claremont CA 91711 United States