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Dorothy and Hiroshi Kaneko papers

Identifier: 1999.009

Scope and Contents

The Dorothy and Hiroshi Kaneko Papers include booklets and articles on the redress movement, magazine and newspaper clippings, letters, newsletters, flyers, press releases, postcards, photo-cards, travel booklets, pamphlets, broadsides, receipts, clippings from the Congressional Record, programs from community events, internment camp reunion booklets and pamphlets, a map, a theater program, a menu, a guest-book, black and white photographs and negatives, and color photographs. Dorothy and Hiroshi Kaneko collected this material documenting their lives in Hood River and Salem, Oregon; Tule Lake Relocation Center, Tule Lake, California; and Chicago, Illinois. The collection dates from 1940 to 2002 with the bulk of the paper records dating in the 1980s and the bulk of the photographs dating in the 1940s. A very small portion of the material is in Japanese.

The collection is organized roughly chronologically. The photographs and negatives (Boxes 4-5) are housed separately from the paper records (Boxes 1-3).;The collection contains a menu and church group photographs documenting their lives in Oregon before they married. The Kanekos kept a guest book signed by visitors to their various residences including their barracks at Tule Lake Relocation Center, Tule Lake, California; LaSalle Mansion at 1039 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago; and 1226 W. Argyle Street, Chicago. This guest book gives a fascinating portrait of their friends and the people that they helped over the years. The collection contains material saved by Hiroshi’s father when he visited Japan 1946. These items document Japan from a visitor’s perspective during the Occupation by the Allied Forces shortly after World War II.

The majority of the collection consists of two types of material: redress publications and photographs. Hiroshi collected newspaper clippings and publications documenting the movement for Japanese American redress and reparations from the U.S. government during the 1980s. The newspaper clippings come from the Chicago Shimpo, Chicago’s only bilingual (English and Japanese) newspaper, and from the Pacific Citizen, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) newspaper. The JACL is a national civil rights, civil liberties, and political advocacy group. Hiroshi also collected newspaper clippings about redress from the West Coast Japanese American press and mainstream newspapers such as the Chicago Sun-Times. He amassed government publications about legislative developments and about the NCJAR class action lawsuit. Hiroshi gathered publications from within the Japanese American community about the redress movement. They are important because they describe complex issues with which the Japanese American community struggled throughout the redress process.

These papers contain newspaper clippings and articles from mainstream sources about prominent Japanese Americans and other Asian Americans. The collection contains a rare issue of Scene (1953), a Chicago Japanese American magazine. The Kanekos also attended and collected material from Tule Lake Relocation Center and Granada Relocation Center reunions.

Finally, a second large component of the collection is photographs dating from the 1940s to the 1980s. These photographs document Dorothy’s life in Oregon from high school graduation until the war and life during internment camp. They also document Chicago in the late 1940s and the redress hearings held in Chicago in September 1981. Most of the photographs in this collection came from an album donated by Dorothy (Box 4, Folder 10 through Box 5, Folder 20). This album was highly acidic, so the processor dismantled it and placed photographs into archival housings. The photographs from this album provide vivid details about Dorothy’s life including her high school friends, her girls club called the Mid-Columbian Apple Maidens, carefree outings with friends, her male friends who enlisted in the U.S. Army before the war, the Morita family, life during internment camp, the arrival of her children, LaSalle Mansion, and the Kaneko farm in Indiana. The collection includes photographs of Tule Lake Relocation Center and Minidoka Relocation Center.

The procesing archivist removed approximately 3 linear feet of material from this collection and integrated it into the JASC’s library and archival collections. Removed to the library collection: Chicago Japanese American Year Book (1948), Chicago Japanese American Year Book (1949), Chicago Japanese American Year Book (1950), Camp Notes by Mitsuye Yamada (1976), and all complete issues of the Chicago Shimpo (1984-1988) and the Pacific Citizen (1969-1990). Removed to the JASC’s Record Group 8, Series 2 (Adult Day Services), Box 1, Folder 1: Tuesday Group lists and notebook. Removed to the JASC’s Record Group 9, Series 2 (Publications): JASC Newsletter (Spring 1988). Removed to the JASC’s Record Group 10 (Audio-Visual Resources): three albums of color photographs and loose black and white and color photographs.

Highlights of the collection include:

• Chicago Japanese American Year Books, 1948-1950, these books are directories of individuals and businesses in the community (see Library)

• a menu from Rainbow Restaurant, Portland, Oregon (Box 1, Folder 1)

• a guest book used by the Kanekos in Oregon, at Tule Lake Relocation Center, and at their LaSalle Mansion apartment house in Chicago (Box 1, Folder 2)

• material on the redress movement (Boxes 1-3)

• a 1953 issue of Chicago’s Scene, a Japanese American magazine (Box 3, Folder 5)

• internment camp reunion material (Box 3)

• photographs of Dorothy and Hiroshi’s churches in Oregon (Box 4, Folders 1-2), Tule Lake Relocation Center (Box 4, Folders 3 and 30), Minidoka Relocation Center (Box 4, Folder 33 and Box 5, Folder 17), LaSalle Mansion (Boxes 4-5), the Kaneko farm in Indiana (Box 5, Folder 20), and the redress hearings held in Chicago in September 1981 (Box 4, Folder 9).

This collection is open without restrictions except for: Menu (Box 1, Folder 1)- Use photocopy (Box 1, Folder 1); History of Japanese Embroidery (Box 1, Folder 4) - Use photocopy (Box 1, Folder 5); Scene Magazine (Box 3, Folder 5) - Use photocopy (Box 3, Folder 5);

Throughout this finding aid, information added by the processing archivist is found in brackets [ ].


  • 1940-2002

Biographical / Historical

Dorothy Morita Kaneko (b. November 20, 1920 - d. December 3, 2006) was born in Hood River, Oregon. She was the oldest child of Mototsugu and Masano Morita. She had eight siblings (from oldest to youngest): Fumiko (Laura) Morita Terada, Ruth Morita Hidaka, Paul Morita, Claude Morita, Mototsugu (Junior) Morita, Flora Morita Hidaka, Betty Morita Shibayama, and Diana Morita Cole. She grew up on a farm family and she graduated from Odell High School in Hood River in 1939.

Hiroshi Kaneko (b. March 27, 1917 - d. June 3, 2012) was born in Beaver Hill, Oregon. He was the oldest son of Yagaro and Yori Kaneko. He had six siblings (from oldest to youngest): Mary Kaneko Koida, (Hiroshi), Midori Kaneko, Roy Kaneko, Harry Kaneko, Lilly Kaneko Takaki, and Rulie Kaneko Yamamoto. At the time of his birth, Hiroshi’s father was working as a miner. At the age of three, Hiroshi’s father took him and his two sisters to live with their grandparents in Japan after his father lost his job when the local mine closed. Ten years later Hiroshi returned to Oregon to live with his parents and by then four other siblings. He attended school in Salem. After high school, he helped his family make a living by farming near Salem as part of a farming cooperative of other Japanese American farmers.

Both Dorothy and Hiroshi were active in the youth groups of the Christian churches in their communities. In 1941, they met through a mutual friend and began dating. They married on March 15, 1942 in Salem, Oregon during the upheaval of the start of World War II. Initially, the U.S. military was going to draft Hiroshi. He secured a deferment because he was set to marry soon. After he and Dorothy married, during 1942 to early 1943, the U.S. government temporarily decided against drafting a segregated, all-Japanese Americans combat force.

In June 1942, the U.S. government removed Dorothy and Hiroshi from Salem and placed them directly into Tule Lake Relocation Center near Tulelake, California without going first to a temporary assembly center. In internment camp, Dorothy worked in the mess hall and Hiroshi did carpentry. Dorothy’s family (the Moritas) was sent to Pinedale Assembly Center near Fresno, California; briefly to Tule Lake Relocation Center; and then to Minidoka Relocation Center near Hunt, Idaho.

By July 1943, Dorothy and Hiroshi had secured jobs and were allowed out of internment camp to work as domestics for a wealthy couple in Barrington, Illinois, a far northern suburb of Chicago. After Dorothy became pregnant with their first child, they decided to move into Chicago. After much difficulty finding a place to live due to a housing shortage and facing discrimination, the Kanekos rented an apartment at 6404 S. Ellis in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Hiroshi’s parents were released from internment camp and joined them in Chicago in 1944.

Together with his father, Hiroshi and Dorothy decided to lease a large apartment building and annex at 1039 N. LaSalle and 119-127 W. Maple Street in Chicago in June 1944. These buildings, called LaSalle Mansion and Annex, became a vital community apartment house where many Japanese Americans coming out of internment camp were able to secure housing. In addition, Hiroshi and his parents purchased a nearby farm in Argos, Indiana to grow Japanese produce. Hiroshi’s parents lived on the farm in the spring and summer to cultivate the produce and would bring it into the city to sell it at local Japanese American grocery stores. Meanwhile, Hiroshi and Dorothy operated LaSalle Mansion. At the same time, Hiroshi worked for Firestone Tire Company and often returned to the suburbs to help his previous employer with their gardens. Eventually in 1945, Hiroshi’s father and brother opened their own grocery store at Clark and Division Streets near LaSalle Mansion to sell their produce.

From approximately 1948 to 1962, the Kanekos purchased and lived in a six-flat building at 1020-1022 N. Clark in Chicago very near LaSalle Mansion. They rented out two apartments, two stores on the first level, and lived in one apartment while Dorothy’s parents lived in the other apartment. Hiroshi worked throughout the north side of the city doing carpentry work and restoring old mansions. Dorothy worked at home raising their three children: Donna (b. 1944), Cheryl (b. 1947, called “Cherie”), and Kevin (b. 1950). Their children attended Ogden Elementary School and then their daughters attended Francis Parker High School and their son attended Lane Technical High School. Dorothy was active with the Ogden School Parent-Teacher Association. Both Donna and Cherie graduated from Oberlin College, obtained Master’s degrees, and attended universities in Tokyo, Japan. Donna studied at International Christian University and Cherie studied at Waseda University.

From approximately 1962 to 2000, the couple lived at 1226 W. Argyle in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Dorothy and Hiroshi were active members of Christian Fellowship Church. This church eventually merged with Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church. From 1972 to 1985, Dorothy worked at the JASC. She started a program for elders in the Japanese American community to keep them active and healthy with activities such as restaurant visits and cultural outings, and with services such as home delivered meals. Presently, the JASC is regarded as offering one of the first adult day service programs for seniors in the city of Chicago begun with, among others, Dorothy’s efforts and ideas.

At the time the collection was donated, Hiroshi remained active selling Japanese antiques and was an expert kite-maker. He shared his kite-making talents at schools, libraries, and cultural fairs. Dorothy was an active volunteer at the JASC. Both Dorothy and Hiroshi dedicated much of their time to activities at Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church. Because of their dedication to the community, they were selected as the Japanese American Community Service Awardees at the Asian American Coalition Lunar New Year celebration in 2001. Dorothy Kaneko died in 2006 and Hiroshi Kaneko died in 2012.

For a written transcript of an oral history interview conducted with Hiroshi Kaneko, see REgenerations: Rebuilding Japanese American Families, Communities, and Civil Rights in the Resettlement Era vol. 1, edited by the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles: Japanese American National Museum, 2000) in the JASC Legacy Center's library collection. Also available online at

Source: Kaneko, Hiroshi


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials




Stacks 2, 5E

Consists of 1999.009, 2001.005, 2002.004

Dorothy and Hiroshi Kaneko papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the JASC Legacy Center Repository

4427 N Clark St.
Chicago IL 60640 United States
1 (773) 275-0097