Fall 2012 – Field School Planning and Laboratory Research

This fall we find ourselves knee deep in preparation for the 2013 field school as well as busy with laboratory analysis and cataloging. We are also gearing up for my spring 2013 class, Historic Artifact Analysis, where students will be able to catalog artifacts from the Kooskia Internment Camp. I am looking forward to seeing what new discoveries we will make with an entire class working on the collection.

Thanks to an NPS grant via the Japanese American Confinement Sites program, I have been able to purchase curatorial boxes and artifact bags for the entire 2010 collection. This grant has also allowed me to purchase a number of new books for our lab, on topics ranging from the archaeology of internment, Nippon era ceramics, public archaeology, and site preservation. These books will be very helpful as we continue to work on the collection this spring and go out into the field in the summer.

I have spoke on the project’s findings recently, including an online webinar talk I gave in October for the National Park Service (which can be found by clicking here) and a talk in November at the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference that was held in San Francisco, California. At the conference, I was able to see several fellow internment scholars, including Dana Shew and Dr. Bonnie Clark of the DU Amache Research Project and Adrian Myers of the Whitewater POW Camp Archaeology Project. Doug Ross, my co-director, was also there. We were all in the same session, which was organized by my former dissertation committee chair, Dr. Barbara Voss of Stanford University. It was great to catch up as well as think about the intersections between places and material culture of internment.

As for the field school, I have scheduled housing at Three Rivers Resort between the dates of June 27th and July 26th, 2013 for our 2013 field school. Please contact me if you are interested in being a part of the field school – my email is scamp@uidaho.edu. I think spaces will fill up fairly quickly this year, so if you are interested drop me an email before late spring.

We thank everyone for the continued support and look forward to sharing our findings this coming spring!

Dr. Stacey Camp

Federal Law Forbids Sale or Re-Use of this Bottle

Courtesy of sha.org (see links below)

While cataloging today, I got the chance to research this little glass sherd, or fragment, which packs a big punch as far as its history goes. Though Prohibition officially ended in late 1933, the Temperance movement did not; so, on the 1st of January 1935, all liquor bottles were required to have FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS SALE OR RE-USE OF THIS BOTTLE embossed on their panel, until of course this too was repealed in 1964.

Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project
Catalog number: 10-2-1009

Unfortunately, not all venders could afford to keep up with the times and change out their machinery, meaning the end date of 1964 is not as solid as an archaeologist would want.  Note: this requirement pertained only to liquor bottles, not wine and beer bottles, as it was supposed to discourage moonshiners from re-using these materials (I guess making alcohol legal wasn’t enough of a damper for bootleggers).

For more information on this subject please visit the following websites compiled by the very knowledgeable Bill Lockhart:



~Kali Oliver

Update on Dragon Vase Presented at NWAC

In the lab today, I found a rim piece to the vase that Olivia McDaniel presented on at the Northwest Anthropological Conference (NWAC) this month! It is a Japanese, Nippon era (1891-1921), moriage style (raised enamel/clay decoration) vase with a the jewel-eyed slip-trailed dragon design.  Luster is located on the interior lip portion of the fragment, cataloged as 10-2-103. Please refer to Olivia’s paper “For the Man” located on this blog for more information on this style of design or related artifacts. Stay tuned next week to find out if this cross-mends with one of the other two associated pieces.

New Northwest Anthropology Conference Posts

Just to update everyone, some of the undergraduate seniors at the University of Idaho have done papers for a panel presentation at the Northwest Anthropology Conference.  The papers and power point pictures have been posted on the blog. The conference was, as always, an amazing experience. We would like to thank the Umatilla for hosting our conference this year in Pendleton, Oregon and for giving us an opportunity to get the word out about these Japanese-made artifacts from the 2010 excavations.

There are not many uniquely Japanese artifacts yet found from the Kooskia Site, and we hope to find more of these types of materials this summer during the 2012 excavations. It is possible for these Japanese-made items found within an internment camp to exhibit a sense of agency, or power, for the internees during this liminal, or transitional phase, between Japanese and American cultures. Since there had been a ban on imports/exports between the United States and Japan at the time, these items were likely brought into one of the family camps as a personal item by internees, and then subsequently brought with some of the male volunteers into Kooskia. As all internment camps were in the process of being disbanded  in 1945, it may have been discarded when internee’s left in May.

Please feel free to comment and ask questions, we would love to hear from you!

Jessica Workman “Japanese Pottery: Dear to our Hearts”

Excavations in the summer of 2010 at the WWII Kooskia Internment Camp uncovered this pottery sherd. Volunteer Internee workers at the Kooskia Internment Camp used this traditional bowl for food preparation and consumption. Most of the internees were Issei, or first generation Japanese. During this era in Japan there was a shift towards Westernization, which included changes in diet and food preparation. This change inside the Kooskia camp may have taken some getting used to, but was not as far of a stretch as one would think from a traditional Japanese diet. According to archival records, internees were offered various American food items such as cold cuts, pork and beans, and hamburgers. They were also offered more traditional ingredients such as dried shrimp, rice, tea, and seaweed. (Wegars 2010). Despite both Japanese and American pressures towards westernization, items such as this rice bowl indicate that some aspects of traditional lifestyle were still apparent.

This porcelain sherd has a rim measuring 12 centimeters in diameter. Given the curvature of the fragment it is a medium-sized bowl used for either rice or tea. Considering the relatively large amounts of rice and tea consumed at the Kooskia Interment Camp both uses are plausible.  (Wegars 2010).
The Kooskia Internment Camp had male volunteers from 1943-1945. Pottery sherds from this camp would be pre-WWII era, which would indicate either a ‘Nippon’ or ‘Made in Japan’ time period complete with a matching marker’s mark. Due to the lack of base on this sherd, it is impossible to distinguish which era the maker’s mark would have been in. (Stitt 1974).

The method used to paint this rice bowl is a stencil ware style more specifically called Fukizumi. (Wegars 1999). In this practice the artist places a negative stencil over the vessel and then sprays or blows the blue pigment over the design. Once it is pulled away a design remains, typically with blurry edges around the outline. Fukizumi is mainly used on white porcelain with blue ink. The misaligned portion of stenciled detail on the left-wing is highly characteristic of late 19th century mass-produced Japanese pottery. (Ross 2009).  The style of decoration found on this fragment is highly characteristic of Japanese porcelain. Unlike the reoccurring symbols found on Chinese pottery, Japanese symbolism is more varied with many different themes. Chinese culture and symbolism had a large impact on the development of Japanese art (Ross 2009). The bamboo shoots found on this pottery fragment have Chinese origins. Whereas the sparrow and bamboo symbols together on this fragment are a common animal and plant theme found throughout many Japanese pottery designs.  (Ross 2009).

The rice bowl arrived at the Kooskia Interment camp as either a gifted item from visiting family members or as a personal item by an internee. Quite a few volunteers moved in between Kooskia Camp and others, during this transition many left personal items behind or discarded broken pieces. (Priscilla Wegars  2012 person. comm).

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this sherd is the story behind it and the implications it has for the personal value the internees placed on certain items. However the rice bowl arrived at the camp the real interest lies in the artifact itself, and others like it and what they may have represented to those that used them. These traditional pieces provide unique insight into the internees and their cultural values and traditions during this WWII era.

I’d like to give a special thanks to Dr. Priscilla Wegars at the Asian American Comparative Collection and Dr. Stacey Camp for all of their help with my research. Thank you.


Ross, Douglas Edward.
2009    Material Life and Socio-Cultural Transformation Among Asian Transmigrants at a Fraser River Salmon Cannery, Simon Fraser University, Simon Fraser University.

Stitt, Irene.
1974    Japanese Cermaics of the Last 100 Years, Crown Publishers, Inc, New York.

Wegars, Priscilla.
2010    Imprisioned in Paradise:Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp, Asian American Comparative Collection Research Report, No 3., University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.

Wegars, Priscilla.
2006    Japanese Artifact Illustrations, Terminology, and Selected Bibliography, revised from 1999 edition, Asian American Comparative Collection, Laboratory of Anthropology, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.

Kali D. V. Oliver “Traditional Health: Wakamoto Bottle”

Courtesy: Wakamoto Pharmaceutical Co. LLC


Kooskia Interment Camp was the only all-male, volunteer based, paid work camp during WWII. Kooskia was open from May 1943 to May 1945, and the internees were responsible for constructing what is now a large part of US HWY 12.


The 2010 excavations at Kooskia unearthed a pharmaceutical bottle from Japan with characters around the neck translating to: Wakamoto. Jordan Wrigley, a University of Idaho graduate student, sent out an inquiry in Japanese, on 24 February 2012.The Wakamoto Company responded two days later, providing a product history. The Wakamoto Company began production of one product: the “Source of Youth,” a gastrointestinal supplement infused with vitamin B, in 1929. This product posed two benefits to internees: both digestive aid and energy supplement.(Wakamoto 2012: elec. comm).


Kooskia Wakamoto Bottle Fragments
Blog Post Picture
Blog Post Picture from Heisei Bottle Club Dairy

The Wakamoto bottle consists of 5 fragments, and is uniquely identifiable as the only “irregular, lighter” shade of amber glass found from the 2010 excavations. The seam goes over the lip of fragment 10-2-317 which has no threading, indicating it is both machine-made and had a cork top. Embossed Japanese characters on neck portion of sherd: wa(わ)ka(か)mo(も)to(と), signify the company’s name. Fragment 10-2-205, part of the body, is embossed with an “O” character, standing for the last letter of “Wakamoto” in English. This conforms to the style of font and format of the first bottle in the Wakamoto series, providing an origin date of between 1929 and 1936. During this time in Japan, there was a heavy emphasis on Westernization, perhaps explaining why both Japanese and English inscriptions are found on the bottle (Wakamoto 2012: elec. comm). A raised embossed design follows the vertical seams and four rings encircle the top of the body. None of these fragments cross-mend.


Heisei Bottle Club Dairy

Since there were restrictions placed on imports and exports during WWII, the bottle was likely brought into one of the family camps as a personal item; then into Kooskia afterwards by a male volunteer.There are many likely possibilities such as several men who were importers/exporters,  a pharmacist, or a medical student prior to internment who had all volunteered at different periods.

Conclusion: Last Slide

United States government, may exhibit a stepping stone towards the combination of two cultures; an example of how the internees, as a group, were finding a Japanese-American niche within a society that promotes the individual. In looking at the Wakamoto bottle, there is the possibility of not just seeing one culture over another, but how they might have worked together for imprisoned migrants (Wagers 2010: Appendix).


¨  Special thanks Dr. Stacey Camp from the Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project

¨  Daisuke Fujita, International Student at the University of Idaho for his aid in translation.


¨  Wegars, Priscilla

2010     Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II       Kooskia Internment Camp. Asian American Comparative Collection, Moscow, ID.

¨  Wakamoto Co. LLC. 26 Feb. 2012. Electronic Communication.

Olivia McDaniel “For the Man: Traditional Decor”

Excavations were conducted during the summer of 2010 at the site of the World War II Japanese Internment Camp in Kooskia, Idaho.  Two porcelain potsherds, catalog numbers 10-2-1 and 10-2-159 were found where the camp incinerator was located, and were significantly different from the plain institutional wares that make up the majority of the ceramics found at Kooskia. The two potsherds contain the same decoration method, have the same glaze on the interior of the pieces, and are the same thickness. Therefore they are believed to be from the same piece of pottery, with 10-2-159 being a burned portion of the vessel (Priscilla Wegars 2012, pers. comm.). Originally, the potsherds were thought to be part of a porcelain ware that was decorated by hand either in the Kooskia camp itself, or at another camp and brought in. Internees within the camp spent leisure time on a multitude of things, some of which include arts and crafts and visitation with family and friends who traveled from other camps (Wegars 2010). It was for these reasons the sherds were believed to be hand decorated in a camp, either as a leisure arts and crafts activity or meant as a gift, either for, or coming from visiting family and friends. Further research of the decoration on the potsherds indicates that the vessel was not made in the camps but was rather exported from Japan.

In Japanese ceramic decoration, any kind of raised clay or enamel decoration is called moriage (Stitt 1974:126). The type of moriage used to decorate these pieces is known as slip-trailing (Priscilla Wegars 2012, pers. comm.). Slip-trailing consists of softened clay (slip) being trailed onto the ware in its biscuit state, through the use of a rubber tube, or traditionally a bamboo tube (Van Patten 1979: 17). The use of this method indicates that the vessel is a piece of Japanese Nippon era ware, made for export from 1891 through 1921, or a Made in Japan era ware, which continued from 1921 through World War II (Van Patten 1979). One of the most popular moriage designs of Nippon ware is the jewel-eyed slip-trailed dragon (Van Patten 1986). These potsherds contain a series of raised edges common in the dragon design, and comparison with pictures of the dragon design in Joan F. Van Patten’s Collector’s Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain (1979, 1982, 1986) indicate what is believed to be a portion of the dragon’s wing on burnt sherd.

The top interior of the burnt sherd also exhibits brown luster, which is commonly used on the interior of the mouth of Nippon ware vessels (Priscilla Wegars 2012, pers. comm.). It is most likely that the vessel was broken during the internees’ time at the camp and was discarded there.

Uncovering these imported Japanese wares among the artifacts found at the site provides a peek into the importance that internees placed on vessels from home, and shows the greater amount of freedom over the everyday objects that the internees were allowed to bring with them, or have brought into the camp.


I would like to thank Dr. Stacey Camp from the Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project for allowing me to be part of this project.

I would also like to give a special thanks to Dr. Priscilla Wegars and the Asian American Comparative Collection at the University of Idaho for her help while conducting my research and the resources they provided.


Stitt, Irene

1974 Japanese Ceramics of the Last 100 Years. Crown Publishers, Inc., New York.

Van Patten, Joan F.

1979 The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain. Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Van Patten, Joan F.

1982 The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain. 2nd ed. Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Van Patten, Joan F.

1986 The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain. 3rd ed. Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Wegars, Priscilla

2010 Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World  War II Kooskia Interment Camp. Asian American Comparative Collection, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.

Fall 2011 Research

Greetings everyone! A bit of time has passed since we updated this blog about our ongoing research. The summer was a bit slow for us, as I (Dr. Camp) delivered my second child on July 30th and am currently writing a book on the history of citizenship and attempts to define American identity. Although things slowed down over the summer, we still have had our share of students working on the project. They will be posting updates this fall, so keep checking back on our blog for their posts!

As some of you may have seen on our Facebook page, we received another National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant to support ongoing laboratory research. This is wonderful news for us, as we are in dire need of artifact drying racks, archival safe bags and boxes, and other lab-related supplies. This grant will allow us to continue cataloging and analyzing the thousands of artifacts recovered during the 2010 field season. Hopefully we can get these artifacts cataloged by the end of the 2012 spring semester before heading back into the field once again!

As I just alluded to, we will be running another archaeological field season at Kooskia next summer. I am still hammering out the details of next summer’s project, but if you are interested in participating, please email me at scamp@uidaho.edu or keep checking back on our project website for more information. I am looking forward to returning to the site, especially given the rich artifact assemblage we excavated last year.

In other news, the project was detailed by Idaho Magazine over the summer as well as in Archaeology magazine in the spring of this year. Both of these publications can be found on our project website under the “About the Project” tab (then click “Media”). Josh Allen, Jamie Capawana, and I also traveled to Sacramento for the Society for American Archaeology’s annual conference to give talks on Kooskia. All in all it has been a very productive year for the Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project, and I am very proud of the progress that we have made on the project!

This coming year (2012) I hope to dive into more labwork myself. I am hoping to have a site report out by mid-2013, which should aid other scholars working on the archaeology of internment. Next year, I will also be presenting at the Society for Historical Archaeology’s annual conference in Baltimore, where I will be discussing artwork found at Kooskia. I am really looking forward to sharing how Kooskia’s internees actively sought to manipulate their environment and transform it into culturally familiar.

Also keep an eye out for a new section on this website that features student projects and research. Students in my lab class last spring had to design posters that detailed their research on Kooskia’s artifacts. I am hoping to put these posters up on our site for other researchers interested in historical archaeology and Japanese American internment.

Again, thank you for your continued support of the project and I look forward to sharing more findings from Kooskia this fall and coming spring!

~Dr. Camp

The Mysterious Life of Tsuneyoshi Koba, a Medical Doctor at the Kooskia Internment Camp

NOTE: This blog post was written by Grace McBride, an undergraduate student at the University of Idaho.

Tsuneyoshi Koba (12 other aliases) is a famed medical imposter who was highlighted in many medical journals throughout the country. He single-mindedly pursued a medical career to the point of being labeled a possible psychopathic case. His history is untraceable because of the web of lies he spun, but the most likely story is written in this blog.

Koba’s Life

Dr. Tsuneyoshi Koba

Tsuneyoshi Koba used a fake passport to illegally enter America from British Columbia in 1913. He attended Broadway High School in Seattle, WA from 1914 to 1919 before going to the University of Washington for two years, then attended Columbia University for one school year and one summer and left due to poor academic standing in 1922. He went to Johns Hopkins University Medical School after working as a busboy but failed again. Koba worked as a busboy in 1924 for one year, living with his uncle in Seattle for six months while looking for money to continue school. In LA he met an artist who forged a diploma from Johns Hopkins for $200.

Koba then went to Minneapolis, MN and did lab work for cancer specialist Dr. Williams who he had conned into giving him the job. He convinced the doctor so thoroughly that he was proficient that he performed surgery on a cancerous breast while Dr. Williams was absent. He borrowed money and left for Fargo, North Dakota to find work under the name of Tsuneo Kuba, but was arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization authorities who took his [fake] Japanese birth certificate.

Koba's Forged Diploma

In New York City Koba was arrested for attempted forgery in 1928 and served 10 months on Welfare Island before being released because of good behavior.

Koba worked at the Presbyterian Medical Center in NYC for six months, then at the New York Post-Graduate Hospital doing urinalysis work in the lab for two months. He went to the Strong Memorial Hospital in 1937 and then returned to NYC and married Josephine Salla, telling her his name was Akira Matsuzaka. She did not know until his arrest that he had multiple aliases. He worked as a butler in Rochester, New York under the name of Kanda Matsuzaka until 1939. His employer gave him one year’s tuition at Johns Hopkins Medical School, which he enrolled in under the name of Masao Matsuzaka using forged grades from a Kyoto Medical School. He was discharged spring of 1940 because of poor grades.

Koba's Aliases

On April 16th, 1939 he married Kathryn Fogarty, telling her he was an American citizen born September 25, 1906 in CA. He did not tell her he was still married (although separated) to Josephine Salla. He attempted to enroll in Washington University Medical School as a 3rd year but was refused because he failed at Johns Hopkins. My wife went back to live with her mother in Rochester, and Koba left St. Louis February 11, 1942 headed to Baltimore and registered at Emerson Hotel. He did not obtain an alien permit to travel, and was therefore arrested at that hotel. He had meant to get an internship at the West Baltimore General Hospital under the name of Dr. Masami Iwataki Kanda.

Koba had been friendly with the Japanese Consuls in various places and was invited to the funeral of the Japanese Ambassador to Washington D.C.. Tsuneyoshi Koba was ruled a threat to American security and ordered to be detained. Koba tried to leave the country by pleading his case but he ended up in multiple internment camps and was eventually transferred to Fort Missoula, Montana. There Koba conned his way to Kooskia to be the camp doctor before the background check from the FBI showed him to be a medical imposter. He had already ordered medical supplies before he was sent back to Fort Missoula.

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