Using the Collection

Digitized items in the Takamura (Kango) paintings collection can be accessed through the UCLA Library Digital Collections(opens in a new tab) platform. Physical items are available for research and are located in our off-site storage facility (Southern Regional Library Facility). Request physical items using the "Special Collections Request" links in the UC Library Search catalog record(opens in a new tab). View our video tutorial(opens in a new tab) or contact Library Special Collections(opens in a new tab) for more help on how to request items.

The Takamura paintings finding aid(opens in a new tab) with full collection details can be viewed in the Online Archive of California.

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About the Collection

Kango Takamura was an Issei artist born in Kumamoto-ken, Japan in January of 1895. He immigrated to the United States when he was 17 years old. Takamura spent ten years in Hawaii and then went to New York after becoming interested in the motion picture industry. After a short stay at the Paramount Studios offices in Long Island, he moved to Hollywood. He was working as a photo retoucher for RKO Studios in Los Angeles when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese Imperial Navy. Takamura was detained by the FBI in 1942 after offering to sell a motion-picture camera to a visiting Japanese general. He was incarcerated in Santa Fe, New Mexico for several months and then moved to a camp at Manzanar, California, where he joined his wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. He remained at Manzanar with his family until 1945. Takamura was not allowed to take photographs during his stays at Santa Fe and Manzanar, but he depicted his surroundings in drawings and watercolors. He also worked as a camp sign-maker at Santa Fe and as curator for a small museum at Manzanar. When Takamura left Manzanar, he returned to Hollywood and worked at RKO Studios for another 25 years before retiring. Takamura lived in Los Angeles until he passed away in January 1990 at 94 years old.

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