I am just finishing up working on the Koike Collection. This week, I finished arranging all of the folders, labeled them, and put them all up onto Archivist’s Toolkit! It is very exciting to have almost finished arranging a collection from start to finish. By going through the Koike Collection, I was able to learn quite a bit about Kenzo Koike’s life. Although, as someone who is simply arranging the collection, I do not have to do too much research on Koike’s life, I found it very interesting and wanted to learn more and more. Through extensive internet research, I was able to answer many of the questions I had about Koike, who died in 2010, but there were a few mysteries that I am still trying to solve.
The first mystery is of the missing brother. Kenzo Koike moved from Seattle to Los Angeles in 1932. There are multiple photographs and portraits of the Koike family before this time with 2 parents and 4 sons, while in Seattle. However, right before the move to Los Angeles, the eldest son is no longer included in any of the photographs. In addition, Kenzo Koike labeled many of the photographs, saying the names of his brothers and parents, but the eldest brother’s name is never mentioned, despite being in these photographs. The eldest brother would have been in his late teens at the time of the move. He may have stayed up in Seattle, Washington and worked up there. On the other hand, because of the lack of documentation on this oldest brother, where the other brothers have some files in this collection, perhaps maybe he died. There are many possibilities of what could have happened to this brother. A mystery that may never be solved.
Another mystery is of the Milwaukee Hotel. The Koike Family, before moving to Los Angeles, has multiple photographs outside of the Milwaukee Hotel in Seattle. There is even a card to Kenzo Koike’s mother mentioning this hotel. After doing a bit of research, I found that this hotel is in China Town in Seattle. People saw this hotel as the beginning of China Town and an area of the city where immigrants could be welcomed into. I am not sure if the Koike Family was drawn to this hotel for this specific reason, or if the family had other specific connections to it. The world may never know.
Although I have a few questions left unanswered, it has been an amazing experience being able to sort through these materials and arrange them in a way that will aid future research.