Kawakami, Tovo S(uvemoto) 1916-2003

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KAWAKAMI, Tovo S(uvemoto) 1916-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 14, 1916, in Oroville, CA; died December 30, 2003, in Columbus, OH. Librarian, educator, and author. Kawakami was best known for her poems that relate to her experiences as a Japanese American who grew up during World War II. She earned an A.A. from what is now Sacramento City College in 1935, and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1937 before the war began. During the war, she and her family were put into an internment camp at Tanforan Race Track, and then moved to the Relocation Camp in Topaz, Utah. While in Topaz, Kawakami worked in the library, and when the war was over she took a job as a librarian at the College of Nursing and Health at the University of Cincinnati; she also worked in the periodical room there for a time. She next found work at the Cincinnati Art Museum, where she was an assistant librarian from 1959 to 1963. In 1964, Kawakami earned her M.L.S. at the University of Michigan and then joined Ohio State University, where she worked her way up from assistant head librarian in the Education Library to head librarian of the Social Work Library; she was also an associate professor there, retiring in 1987. Kawakami was noted for her poems of the Japanese-American experience, often writing in haiku and tanka forms, and gained some national attention when she testified before the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in the early 1980s. Her verses were published in poetry anthologies, such as Speaking for Ourselves: American Ethnic Writing (1969), and won a number of awards, including first and third prizes in the 1978 Ohio Poetry Day Association awards. Though she never had a book of her own verses published before her death, in the field of library science she wrote Acronyms in Education and the Behavioral Sciences (1971).



Friends of the Ohio State University Libraries, Volume 6, number 1, 2003, p. 4.

Library Hotline, January 19, 2004, p. 5.


Michigan Today,http://ipumich.temppublish.com/public/mtoday/ (March 15, 2004).

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Kawakami, Tovo S(uvemoto) 1916-2003

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