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Guide to the Karl Ichiro Akiya Papers TAM.236

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Tamiment Staff, 2004

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on February 05, 2021
Description is in English.

 Updated by Jacqueline Rider to include materials integrated from accession number 2017.074. Edited by Amy C. Vo to change legacy description about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II  , December 2017 , January 2021

Scope and Content Note

Series I: Subject Files, 1937-2002 contains correspondence, manuscript material and newspaper clippings documenting Akiya's life and work both in the United States and Japan. Materials describing his education at Kwansei Gakuin University, his incarceration at Camp Topaz, and his work in World War II for the United States government at the University of Michigan and with the Office of Strategic Services are present. His political work in the civil rights and anti-war movement is documented, as is his involvement in the campaign for nuclear disarmament and his efforts to commemorate the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also present are materials relating to Akiya's work in the Japanese American Redress movement. Materials documenting Akiya's ongoing interest in Japanese and Japanese American language and literature, including correspondence with Japanese and Japanese American artists, writers and politicians are also included. Also present are materials related to his work for Japanese American newspapers the Nichibei Times, New York Bungei and Hokubei Shimpo. Also included in this series are files relating to his family (wife and children), including correspondence and personal records.

Series II: Writings, 1921-1999includes Akiya's 1994 autobiography (in Japanese and English), a weekly journal written in elementary school, college essays on religion, short novels written in the 1950s, some for the Hokubei Shimpo; an essay on his incarceration at the Topaz War Relocation Center, a concentration camp euphemistically referred to as an relocation or internment camp, and miscellaneous essays on linguistics and the labor and student movements. A draft of his novel "The Little Champion" is also included.

Series III: Notebooks, 1942-1997contains address books and small notebooks containing contact information, notes and lists. Also included are Akiya's diaries from 1942 and 1994 through 1998. The bank savings books of Akiya and his family are also present.

Series IV: Artwork and Photographs, 1942-1990includes artwork, photographic prints and negatives relating to the movement to ban the atomic bomb, the Topaz concentration camp, and Kwansei Gakuin University. Examples of Akiya's calligraphy are also included, as are his drawings from a correspondence class with the Washington School of Art. Also present is a color photocopy of a photo album documenting Akiya's work at the University of Michigan's Japanese Language School.

Series V: Oversize and Ephemera, 1949-1987includes realia, memorabilia, oversize photographs and three videos. The bulk of this series consists of memorabilia from Kwansei Gakuin University, including banners, spoons, and awards. Other items include oversize photographs from the Bank of Tokyo Christmas Party and Annual Picnic, as well as Akiya's wallet and identification cards. Of particular significance is a box containing broken glass and rock from the "Peekskill Riots" of 1949 and a Roger Hargrave Scrapbook from the Spanish Civil War.


Arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into 5 series:

  1. Subject Files, 1937-2002
  2. Writings, 1921-1999
  3. Notebooks, 1942-1997
  4. Artwork and Photographs, 1942-1990
  5. Oversize and Ephemera, 1949-1987