Cigarette Belt

Cigarette Belt

Usage conditions apply
This belt was made by Joe Yamakido while imprisoned in Texarkana. He was the lone draft resister from the Jerome War Relocation camp. When Executive Order 9066 was signed Joe along with his family were moved to the Santa Anita Assembly Center. A riot broke out, and the FBI falsely accused and jailed Joe Yamakido, while his family was moved to the Jerome War Relocation camp. After Joe was released, he was sent to the Tule Lake WRA camp. He wanted to be reunited with his family so he obtained a travel permit and went to Jerome. After his arrival to Jerome, much of his family was then transferred to Tule Lake, so, wanting to be with his family, and knowing Tule Lake was for "disloyal" prisoners, he denounced his U.S. Citizenship. While this was happening though, he received a draft notice. He avoided this draft notice and refused to serve until he eventually got arrested. He was prosecuted and sentenced to three years at Texarkana, where he was a victim to racism and discrimination within the jail. He made this belt out of cigarette wrappers and aluminum foil during his imprisonment. This belt is symbolic of all the time he spent incarcerated and discriminated against in all kinds of different ways. Many Japanese American prisoners made things out of odd materials. Common materials for these crafts were old wood, wire, or seashells that they found, but the cigarette wrapper cellophane that Joe used is an especially unique material. It represents the creativity, the character, and the fighting spirit of Joe Yamakido.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
circa 1940
place made
United States: Texas, Texarkana
Physical Description
inorganic material (unspecified) (overall material)
aluminum (overall material)
overall: 1 in x 33 in; 2.54 cm x 83.82 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American
Executive Order 9066
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object