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A Finding Aid to the Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-1985, bulk circa 1910-1948

Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-1985, bulk circa 1910-1948

Tokita, Kamekichi, 1897-1948

Painter

Collection Information

Size: 1.5 linear feet

Summary: The scattered personal papers of Seattle area painter Kamekichi Tokita (1897-1948) measure 1.3 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to 1985 with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1910 to 1948. The papers include biographical materials, including documents about the closing of the War Relocation Authority's Minidoka Camp in Idaho; correspondence; three diaries written in Japanese (transcribed in English in electronic format) documenting Tokita's war time experiences and relocation to Minidoka, two earlier notebooks, also written in Japanese, and scattered notes; a few personal business records; printed materials; one scrapbook; sketches; and one family photograph album.

Biographical/Historical Note

Kamekichi Tokita (1897-1948) was a painter and businessman who emigrated from Japan in 1919 and settled in Seattle, Washington. Born Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Received his college education in Japan and immigrated to Seattle in 1919. Operated a sign painting business, Noto Sign Co., with Kenjiro Nomura. Tokita became one of a small number of progressive artists in Seattle in the 1930's which included Morris Graves and Kenneth Callahan. His work was supported by the Seattle Art Museum and exhibited regularly in Seattle and California between 1929 and 1936. He was interned with his family at Minidoka, Idaho, during World War II.

Provenance

The Kamekichi Tokita papers were donated by his son, Shokichi Tokita in 1990. He donated a third and final diary in 2017. They were collected as part of the Archives of American Art Northwest Asian American project in Seattle, Washington.

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Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool.