Japanese Americans

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NARA Resources

Use our National Archives Catalog

See our National Archives Catalog's Search Tips to find out how to retrieve descriptions of textual, photographic, motion picture, and sound materials relating to for Japanese American Internment.

In our online catalog, find over 4,000 online images of items about Japanese American Internment, including:

Read the articles in Prologue magazine

"Return to Sender: U.S. Censorship of Enemy Alien Mail in World War II". Part 1 | Part 2

"The Past Recaptured? The Photographic Record of the Internment of Japanese-Americans"
(4.49 MB)

See our materials for Teachers and Students

Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation During World War II
Includes background on the internment, and a collection of 16 photographs and 3 documents in NARA relating to the WWII relocation of Japanese in the United States. Also includes a lesson plan for educators.

Check the Aliens Topics page in our Genealogy section

Read the brief overview of the World War II Enemy Alien Control Program
The Aliens page includes links to other records related to enemy aliens and other WWII internment programs (such as INS detention centers), and name indexes to Alien Personal History and Statements

Learn about this NHPRC Project

Securing Our Legacy: Understanding Japanese American Resettlement in the Midwest
Refer to Caption Residents of Japanese ancestry file forms containing personal data, two days before evacuation, at a Wartime Civil Control Administration station. National Archives Identifier: 536056

Review related U.S. Policy


Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese (1942), includes copy of the document and background to the situation. View transcript

President Gerald R. Ford's Proclamation 4417, Confirming the Termination of the Executive Order Authorizing Japanese-American Internment During World War II
This proclamation by Gerald Ford removed the possibility of a reinstitution of Executive Order 9066. (Gerald Ford Presidential Library)

Law for Documents Relating to Japanese Internment

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Military Affairs. Mentions protests received by the committee from citizens of California communities against the return of previously interned Japanese-Americans to their homes on the West Coast.

Records of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1947-68. Mentions records on claims of Japanese-Americans evacuated under Executive Order 9066.

View the Collection from the Truman Presidential Museum & Library

The War Relocation Authority and the Incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII. The collection includes photographs, oral history, chronologies, documents, and lesson plans regarding the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Obtain a copy of Reference Information Paper #59

Statistics and Statistical Materials in the Records of the War Relocation Authority, by James Paulauskas (1973), 6 pp.

Check the Guide to Federal Records

Records of the War Relocation Authority, RG 210

Records of Defense Commands, RG 338.2.1, includes reference to microfilm copies of records of Japanese relocation centers (620 rolls)

Records of the Information Branch, 389.2.6

Refer to Caption Exclusion Order posted at First and Front Streets directing removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from the first San Francisco section to be effected by the evacuation. National Archives Identifier: 536017

Learn about Japanese-American Records in NARA's Regional Archives in San Francisco

Japanese-American Records in NARA's Pacific Region from the Records for the Study of Ethnic History in the National Archives, Reference Information Paper.

Records for Study of Labor and Business in Pacific Region. See under Labor Supply, RG 83 and RG 96.

Information about Records of the District Courts of the United States (RG 21). See under references to Japanese-Americans in the Records Description under USDC

Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (RG 83). See also Division of Land Economics, 83.6.5

Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (RG 85)

Records of the Farmers Home Administration (RG 96) . See also the Federal Records Guide

Records from the United States Attorneys, RG 118. See also U.S. Attorneys, Northern Judicial District of CA, 118.6.1

Records of the California War Board, 145.6.1

Records from the Office of Defense Transportation, RG 219. References records relating to trucks seized from interned Japanese-American farmers for sale to actively producing farmers.

Records from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, RG 265

See related records at the National Archives in Riverside

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs , RG 75

Read about Photographs available in the National Archives Still Pictures Unit

Holdings from the War Relocation Authority (WRA), RG 210.

Holdings from the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians

Read about related Electronic Records available in NARA

Press Release about Japanese-American Internee File, 1942 - 1946, in AAD

Holdings from the WWII Era

Learn about Motion Picture Unit holdings in NARA

From the War Relocation Authority

Learn about the Sound Recordings available in the National Archives.

Dillon S. Meyer. Director of the War Relocation Authority, interviewed by an unidentified NBC newsman, (ca. 1943) discussing the relocation of approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans

Reference to other WRA sound recordings in NARA

See the following books in the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC):

Ichihashi, Yamato. Japanese in the United States : a critical study of the problems of the Japanese immigrants and their children. Standford University, Calif., Stanford University Press; London, H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1932. x, 426 p. E 184 J3 I4

McKenzie, Roderick Duncan. Oriental exclusion : the effect of American immigration laws, regulations, and judicial decisions upon the Chinese and Japanese on the American Pacific coast. Chicago, Ill., The University of Chicago press [1928] 200 p. JV 6874 M3

Paul, Rodman W. The abrogation of the Gentlemen's Agreement : being the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa prize essay for 1936. Cambridge, Mass., The Society, 1936. xiii, 117 p. JV 6884 P3

The following are from the Taylor Collection:
With only the will to live : accounts of Americans in Japanese prison camps, 1941-1945. Wilmington, Del. : SR Books, c1994. xxxvii, 286 p. D 805 A785 W57 1994

Lowman, David D. Magic : the untold story of U.S. intelligence and the evacuation of Japanese residents from the West Coast during WW II. [Utah] : Athena Press, 2001. viii, 391 p. D 810 S7 L68 2001

United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Administative Law and Governmental Relations.. Japanese-American and Aleutian wartime relocation : hearings before the Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Ninety-eighth Congress, second session, on H.R. 3387, H.R. 4110, and H.R. 4322 ... June 20, 21, 27, and September 12, 1984. Washington : U.S. G.P.O., 1985. iv, 989 p. D 769.8 A6 U53 1985

Resources on Other Web Sites

Genealogy Resources:

Asian GenWeb
Part of the WorldGenWeb, this site links to genealogical information sources in 26 Asian countries.

Department of Homeland Security
Information on how to request information from the USCIS (formerly INS) using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) form G-639.

Japan GenWeb
This web site contains links to Japanese genealogical web sites in English, Spanish and Japanese. Research on Japanese family heritage can also be done according to Japanese prefecture.

Japanese Research
Genealogy.com provides contact information, web sites, and books to assist in Japanese genealogy research.

Stuart Terashita's Japanese-American Genealogy Home Page
This website offers advice for Japanese-Americans on beginning their genealogical searches in the U.S. using: Social Security Administration information, death certificates, ship manifests, funeral home information, cemetery listings, obituaries, and WWII Internment Records. It also offers advice on how to uncover family history using Japanese web pages and records.

"Tracing the Roots: Using a Regional Office of the National Archives"
An article written by Rodger Rosenberg for the National Japanese American Historical Society. Describes the records available for researching Japanese-American ancestors at the Regional Offices of the National Archives.

General Resources

Newspaper Article

"Abundant dreams diverted"
Seattle Times article recapping the history of Japanese in Washington State in the early 1900's and their subsequent evacuation to relocation camps in the 1940's.


Report to the President, Japanese-American Internment Sites Preservation (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2001)

Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites, J. Burton, et al.

The Decision to Evacuate the Japanese from the Pacific Coast
Chapter from "The United States Army in World War II", volume entitled "Guarding the United States and its Outposts." An extensive and detailed army analysis by Stetson Conn of the circumstances surrounding the internment of Japanese-Americans.

Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California (Japanese Americans)

Relocation Centers

Camp Amache National Historic Landmark

Granada Relocation Center Site

Heart Mountain Relocation Center

Jerome Relocation Center Collection, University of Arkansas

War Relocation Authority Camps in Arizona, 1942-1946, University of Arizona
Includes 40 photographs from the WRA, taken at the Colorado River Relocation Center and the Gila River Relocation Center. The site also links to numerous points of interest and suggestions for further study.

Kooskia Internment Camp Project

Historic California Posts: Manzanar Relocation Center

A Historical Study of the Manzanar War Relocation Center, Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar - America's Concentration Camp

Friends of Minidoka

Minidoka Internment National Monument

Poston Restoration Project

Rohwer Relocation Center

The Rohwer Outpost

Salinas Assembly Center and Poston Relocation Center

Topaz Camp

Topaz Internment Camp

Topaz Internment Camp Documents, University of Utah

Topaz Japanese-American Relocation Center Digital Collection

Topaz Museum

Topaz Relocation Center, Utah State University Digital Collections Online

Topaz Times News Daily

Guide to the Records of the United States War Relocation Authority Central Utah Project, University of Washington

Tule Lake Relocation Center

Oral Histories

Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project

Frank Chin Oral History Collection

Japanese American Oral History Project Collection, California State University, Fullerton



Children of the Camps, the Documentary. Historical background provided, copies of documents, and a timeline. Also information about this PBS documentary and how to order.

Conscience and the Constitution

Exploring the Japanese American Internment

Japanese Internment: Videos in the Media Resources Center

Life Interrupted, the Japanese American Experience in WWII Arkansas.

Return to the Valley

Photographs and Paintings

Japanese-American Internment Camps During World War II, Photo Exhibits from Tule Lake and Topaz, From the Special Collections Department, J. Marriott Library, University of Utah.

"Suffering Under a Great Injustice": Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar
The Library of Congress presents side-by-side digital scans of both Adams's 242 original negatives and his 209 photographic prints.

Crystal City Internment Camp, Texas

Gallery of the Open Frontier, University of Nebraska Press

Japanese-American Archival Collection
From the California State University, Sacramento Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives. A history of the Japanese experience in the San Joaquin Valley from 1900's to the 1940's. Collection comprises over 5,000 documents, photographs, artifacts and exhibits materials.

Japanese-American Relocation Collection, University of Utah

Japanese Americans in World War II Photographs

Masumi Hayashi Photography, Family Album Project

Tomo Foundation Collection Photographs, California State University, Fresno

War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, From the Online Archive of California, Bancroft Library, University of California-Berkeley. Includes 6,834 digital images.

Museums and Exhibits

A More Perfect Union, Japanese Americans & the U.S. Constitution
Web site from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History provides personal narrative, music, timelines, and photographs of the Japanese relocation during World War II.

Japanese American Exhibit and Access Project

Guide to the Minidoka Relocation Camp Photograph Collection, University of Washington

Institute of Museum and Library Services, Digital Collections and Content, University of Illinois

Internment of Japanese Americans of the Santa Clara Valley

Japanese-American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Links to Japanese-American resources, including factsheets on Japanese-American incarceration during WWII.

Japanese American Museum of San Jose

National Japanese American Historical Society

National Japanese American Memorial Foundation

The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco:

Personal Papers

Azalia Emma Peet papers, Smith College

Auraria Library Special Collections Department, Denver, Colorado

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives, Bancroft Library, University of California-Berkeley

Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles

California Historical Society,

United States Japanese Relocation Center Papers and Records, 1942-45, Colorado College,

Colorado State Archives

Georgetown University Library, Special Collections

Japanese American Service Committee Legacy Center, Chicago

Library of Congress

Franklin S. Roosevelt Presidential Library,

Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Library

Truman Presidential Museum & Library

Japanese-American Internment Collections, University of the Pacific

Manuscripts Division: Japanese Americans, University of Utah

Yale University, Special Collections

Finding Aids/General Materials

The Japanese-American Experience, The Balch Institute

Inventory of the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records, Bancroft Library, University of California-Berkeley

Japanese-American Internment, University of California

Guide to the Japanese-American Relocation Centers Records, 1935-1953, Cornell University

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
The Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive (JARDA) provides access to the archival and manuscript holdings of numerous California archives and museums featuring online finding aids, digital images, electronic texts and oral histories. JARDA contains personal diaries, letters, photographs, and drawings, camp newsletters, reports, photographs, and WRA administrative documents.

Oregon Historical Society

University of Washington Special Collections

Utah State University Digital Collections Online

The War Relocation Camps of World War II: When Fear was Stronger than Justice Teaching with Historical Places Lesson Plans, National Park Service


Access Microfilm on Japanese-Americans

Visit NARA in Washington, DC, or check with the 13 Regional Archives around the country. Many of these facilities have these records on microfilm for use in person. Microfilm can also be purchased.

Some of the available microfilm publications include:

  • M1865. Final Accountability Rosters of Evacuees at Relocation Centers, 1944-1946. 10 rolls. (From RG 210, Records of the War Relocation Authority)
  • C53. Field Basic Documentation of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1946. (From RG 210, Records of the War Relocation Authority)
  • M1342. Community Analysis Reports and Community Analysis Trend Reports of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1946. (From RG 210, Records of the War Relocation Authority)
  • M1293. Public Hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. (From RG 220, Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards)
  • A3408. Registers of Japanese, Filipinos, and Hawaiians Held for Boards of Special Inquiry at San Francisco, California, September 1928-February 1942. (From RG 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service)

For more information on microfilm, use our Microfilm Search.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or for more information, contact us:

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By phone: 1-866-272-6272