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Misao Shiratsuki papers

Identifier: 2008.014

Scope and Contents

The Misao Shiratsuki Papers consist mostly of personal letters she received from friends at other relocation centers during her time at Tule Lake, California. The personal letters discussed many issues, but mainly focused on the conditions of relocation camps located in Poston, Arizona, Manzanar, California, and Tule Lake, California. She also corresponded with former supervisors for whom she had worked. She received letters after the war that discussed possible resettlement locations, including Chicago, Illinois. ;Also present in the collection are several items and books about Tule Lake, including the Tule Lake Reunion book Misao acquired in 1982. Other items in the collection include material from Misao's sister Sumiko's time at Salinas Union High School and at Illinois State University after World War II.


  • 1942-1988

Biographical / Historical

Misao Shiratsuki was born on August 24, 1918 to Mohei and Ichiyo Shiratsuki. Misao - the oldest of her siblings - had two brothers, Satoru and Tsutomu, and two sisters, Yoshiye and Sumiko. Misao attended Buena Vista Grammar School, a one room school house near Salinas, California and graduated from Salinas Union High School. She attended Salinas Junior College, passed the California Civil Service Exam, and worked briefly for the State of California in Sacramento.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed United States Executive Order 9066. This order led to the forced evacuations of Japanese Americans and ethnic Japanese people from designated “military zones” located mostly along the West Coast. In 1942, the Shiratsuki family was assigned to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center located in Wyoming. Prior to the evacuation order, Misao's brother, Satoru, who was deaf, had applied to the School for the Deaf in Fremont, California. Misao attempted to make arrangements so that she and Satoru could be assigned to Tule Lake Relocation Center in California instead so that Satoru could attend the school. In the end, Satoru was not able to attend the school, and he and Misao were sent to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center with the rest of their family.

After working for a time at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Misao was able to leave the camp before World War II ended to resettle in Bloomington, Illinois. She obtained secretarial work at Illinois State Normal University (now known as Illinois State University or ISU). While at ISU, Misao became familiar with the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville. After accepting guardianship for Satoru, she arranged for him to attend the school. Later, Misao's sister, Sumiko, joined her in Bloomington and attended the university.

After the war ended, Misao moved to Chicago, Illinois, while the rest of her family moved to Seabrook, New Jersey. Following the death of her mother and her sister, Yoshie, the family joined Misao in Chicago. Misao worked as a secretary for a physician and then as an office manager for a group of doctors. As she succeeded professionally, Misao became active in the Chicago Japanese American community through service and donations. One such donation included a purchase of the Japanese American Service Committee’s Adult Day Services’ bus in memory of her brother, Satoru.

Misao Shiratsuki passed away on July 3, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California at the age of 93.

Source: Shiratsuki, Misao


3 boxes

Language of Materials



Stack West Wall Cabinet 08 Shelf 06 (Boxes 01- 03)

Misao Shiratsuki papers
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the JASC Legacy Center Repository

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