Sadao Oka's Display Box

Sadao Oka's Display Box

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This small wooden box was one of Sadao Oka's most prized possessions during his time in Poston concentration camp. Within this box he kept the small amount of tools and materials he was allowed, old paints, and wooden birds that he was carving. Now some of the many birds he carved are on display on the top layer of the box, but many others were given as gifts or were kept somewhere else. Mr. Oka adopted the art of woodcarving when he was forcibly put into an incarceration camp. He joined a carving class and quickly picked up the art form. He spent much of his free time focused on making the most lifelike wooden birds he could, and he soon perfected his skills and mastered carving and painting small details into the already small birds. He used this art to stay determined and persevere through all the trials of segregation, as did many others, and by doing this, the energy and emotion that is shown through these painstakingly detailed birds is evident.
Currently not on view
Object Name
United States: Arizona, Poston
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
glass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 11 1/2 in x 9 in x 4 in; 29.21 cm x 22.86 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Jane Oka
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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