Wooden Brooch, "Santa Anita"

Wooden Brooch, "Santa Anita"

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Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during WWII often turned to art and crafts to take their minds off of the imprisonment, and express themselves creatively. Many art schools, clubs, and classes started popping up throughout many of the camps to accommodate and provide for this want. It was a great way for many Japanese Americans to pass much of the large amounts of spare time they had while imprisoned, and many prisoners developed extraordinary artistic skills. This small wooden carving has a wooden brooch reading "Santa Anita" which was an assembly center for Japanese Americans. Attached by blue yarn is a small carving of geta (Japanese sandals). These are representative of Toshi Ito's experience in camp. The prisoners had to shower in the same place where prior to their imprisonment horses were hosed down and cleaned. The men in her camp carved geta out of old wood so other prisoners could wear them in the shower and not get their feet filthy. Many of the crafts done were like this, small, and representative of where or when the artist was imprisoned. This small trinket was carved by a boy in camp as a gift of love to Toshi Ito. Although it didn't work out between them, many gifts like this were made and given as tokens of love throughout all the camps.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
mid 1940s
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
thread (overall material)
overall: 2 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in; 6.35 cm x 4.445 cm
carving: 1 in x 1/2 in; 2.54 cm x 1.27 cm
nameplate: 3/4 in x 1 3/4 in; 1.905 cm x 4.445 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Toshi Ito
Japanese Americans
World War II
Japanese American Internment
World War II
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American
Executive Order 9066
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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