I just finished my 2nd week working on the new Koike Collection. It is a fascinating collection! It contains mostly photographs and portraits from 1921 to 1948 centered on Kenzo Koike’s life. Through looking through these photographs and the documents in the collection, I feel as though I have gotten some insight as what it was like to be a Japanese American before and during World War II. Koike was born in 1920 in Seattle, Washington, and moved in 1932 to Los Angeles. He attended Junior High, High School, and College in Los Angeles. A year after graduating college, in 1942, Koike and his family were sent to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. He was only able to leave the internment facility by being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. It wasn’t until 1945 when Koike was sent as a translator/ interpreter to Japan. He took some amazing pictures during his time in Japan. He was also able to visit many of his relatives.
Although it has been really fun working on this collection and going through all of the photographs, it has been quite a bit of work! I’ve had to sort and arrange all of the materials and place them into folders. I also created series to organize all of the materials and make it easier for researchers to navigate. I photocopied a few newspapers and military documents. The most difficult task this week was to take out the nails of picture frames to place the photographs in mylar to help preserve them. I got to use a real Archivist’s Toolkit!
I’ll keep you all updated on how arranging the Koike Collection goes!