Japanese Americans

War Relocation Authority (WRA) Case Files

The National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives 1), holds case files of Japanese and Japanese Americans whom the federal government forcibly removed to War Relocation Authority (WRA) "relocation centers" beginning in May 1942. These camps were specific to persons of Japanese ancestry, both citizens and noncitizens, from parts of California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona that were designated as military areas.

The case files are found in Entry PI-77 22 in Record Group 210, Records of the War Relocation Authority (National Archives Identifier 891305). The files are arranged alphabetically.

Contents of WRA Case Files

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Preliminary medical examinations at the WRA's Poston Relocation Center National Archives Identifier 536090

The content of individual case files varies. In addition to including basic identifying information about the individual (such as their name, age, and physical description), case files may also contain:

  • Medical records
  • Property records
  • School records
  • Military service information
  • WRA camp employment records
  • Leave or discharge documentation
  • Related correspondence

Not all case files contain each of these documents.

Case files may provide information about an individual's family members as well.

Accessing WRA Case Files

Researchers may request to view WRA case files on site at Archives 1 or order copies of case files using the WRA case file request form.

In your request, please provide the following information so that our staff can locate the case file:

  • Individual’s full name
    • If the individual used a Japanese name and an Anglicized name, please provide both names.
  • Individual's date of birth
  • WRA camp

If the individual of interest is not the head of family, please also provide the following information:

  • Head of family's name
  • Head of family's date of birth

To identify this information, please search the Access to Archival Databases (AAD). For search tips, please see Search the Database of Japanese American Internees.

Please note that WRA case files are subject to privacy restrictions.

You may view a case file if:

  • You are the subject of the file.
  • If you are not the subject of the file, and the subject is still living:
    • The subject of the file must complete and submit DOJ-361 authorizing the release of the file to you (see link above for the form).
  • The subject of the file is deceased.
    • You must provide proof of death, such as a copy of a death certificate, Social Security Death Index listing, or obituary.

If you cannot determine whether an individual is living or deceased, please contact the Archives 1 Reference Branch at archives1reference@nara.gov for more information on how to proceed.