Date Original

circa 1940s


This image shows a pastel drawing on denim of Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Camp, signed by Masao Okayama, who was probably a student at the camp.

Biographical/Historical Note

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9022, creating the War Relocation Authority (WRA). The WRA selected ten sites in which to imprison more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, over two-thirds of whom were American citizens. Two of these centers were in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County, and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. Over 16,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in these two centers between October 1942 and November 1945. Masao Okayama was one of these individuals, most likely a student at Rohwer. Students used donated denim and pastels in their art classes at Rohwer. This is one of two pastel drawings held by the Arkansas State Archives. This piece comes from the Joseph Boone Hunter Collection. Joseph Boone Hunter worked at Rohwer Relocation Camp, where he was in charge of the school, hospital, and social welfare, as well as his own church service.

Physical Description

Pastel drawing on denim, 56" x 18"


Drawing; Pastels (Visual works); War; Art education; Art; Evacuation of civilians; Military camps; Camps; Japanese; Japanese Americans; World War, 1939-1945--Concentration Camps--United States--Arkansas; Internment camps; Relocation camps; Rohwer Relocation Center (Ark.)


Okayama, Masao

Geographical Area

Rohwer, Desha County (Ark.)




MS.000119, Artifact 82.002.1

Resource Type

Physical Object


Joseph Boone Hunter collection, MS.000119


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Pastel drawing on denim of Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Camp, Joseph Boone Hunter collection, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at


United States History


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Additional Content

Hazel Retherford papers, MS.000643; Amon Guy Thompson papers, MG04582-MG04586; Austin Smith papers, 1942-1945, MG04350; Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps, MG01299; Community Analysis Reports and Community Analysis Trend Reports of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1946, MG03846-MG03847; Japanese Camp papers, MG03848-MG03869



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Pastel drawing on denim of Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Camp