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Guide to the Michi Kobi Papers TAM.697

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
special.collections@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Heather Mulliner

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 20, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Heather Mulliner to include incorporation of September 2016 accretion Edited by Rachel Searcy to change legacy description about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II  , January 2017 , September 2020

Biographical Note

Michi Kobi (1924-2016), born Machiko Okamoto, was a Japanese American actress and activist. During World War II, she, along with 110,000 other Nisei, was forcibly removed from her home and incarcerated at the Central Utah Relocation Center, a concentration camp (euphemistically referred to as an internment camp) in Topaz, Utah. She turned to acting while incarcerated and after the war pursued an acting career in New York, appearing in film and Broadway productions. Kobi also worked to draw attention to the injustices of Japanese American incarceration, and in 1980 served as the co-chair of the East Coast Japanese Americans for Redress. The organization advised the federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and helped organize the November 1981 commission hearings in New York City, which concluded that the incarceration was a grave injustice based on racial prejudice and not justified by military necessity. The Commission recommended an official Government apology and narrowly defined redress payments to survivors, which were introduced into legislation as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.