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 December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which selected ten sites in which to imprison more than 110,000 Japanese Americans, over half of whom were American citizens. Two of these camps where in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County, and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. These camps were open from October, 1942, to November, 1945, with over 16,000 Japanese-Americans having been incarcerated during that period. Masao Okayama was one of these individuals, most likely a student there. Students used donated denim and pastels in their art classes at Rohwer. The Arkansas State Archives has two of these pastel drawings that are part of the Joseph Boone Hunter Collection and the supplement donated by his daughter, Betty Hunter Adams, in 1997. Hunter worked at Rohwer Relocation Camp where he was in charge of the school, hospital, and social welfare, as well as his church service.

Physical Description

Pastel drawing on denim, 56" x 18"


Drawing; Pastel drawing; War; Art education; Art; World War, 1939-1945; Japanese Culture

Geographical Area

Rowher, 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 501-682-6901 or email at


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Pastel Drawing on Denim of Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Camp