“Minidoka Matinee” radio program, Minidoka Relocation Center, 1945, sound recordings, etc.

"Hunt talent show to be broadcast over KTFI Monday," Minidoka Irrigator, 13 January 1945, p. 3I am researching the history of “Minidoka Matinee.”

“Minidoka Matinee” was a radio program that was produced and performed by Japanese American incarcerees of the Minidoka Relocation Center, Hunt, Idaho, during World War II.

The weekly, 15-minute program ran from January to April 1945, for about 13 episodes. “Minidoka Matinee” broadcasted live from radio station KTFI in nearby Twin Falls, Idaho. Since the program was performed in KTFI’s studio, performers had permission to leave Minidoka to travel to Twin Falls on broadcast days.

The show presented music and interviews. Music was performed by Japanese American musicians and vocalists, known collectively as either the “Hunt Orchestra” or the “Minidoka Matineers”. One notable interview segment was "Yank of the Week," an interview with a Japanese American serving in the US military.

The radio program was administered by the Reports Division at the Minidoka Relocation Center. John F. Graham, War Relocation Authority (WRA) Reports Officer at Minidoka, and Hero Nishimoto, an incarceree, appear to be the main organizers of the program. Ted Shimano, another Minidoka incarceree, was the band's music director and conductor.

Contemporaneous newspaper articles and other accounts described audio recordings being made of the “Minidoka Matinee” broadcasts. The Minidoka Irrigator newspaper and a WRA report mention the radio program being recorded in the KTFI studio while broadcasting live.

"Minidoka Matinee proves hit; men in service feature added," Minidoka Irrigator, 20 January 1945, p. 3

The Minidoka Irrigator reported in June 1945 that a special recording of “Minidoka Matinee” was made for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Another account said this recording was to be rebroadcast overseas by the Office of War Information, presumably in the European Theater, where the 442nd was deployed. The recording was said to include a congratulatory message to the 442nd read by Dillon S. Myer, Director of the War Relocation Authority.

It is my guess that if audio recordings of “Minidoka Matinee” exist, then they were recorded onto “transcription discs.” Transcription discs are similar to vinyl records, but they were usually 16 inches in diameter.

One goal of the research project is to find if any of these recordings exist. If they do, then another goal is to listen and catalog the recordings' contents, and to digitize the recordings, if possible. The overall goals of this research on “Minidoka Matinee” and the Japanese Americans who produced the show are for tentative articles and a presentation.

If interested, I wrote an article, "Minidoka Matinee: Japanese Americans On The Air," for the Association for Recorded Sound Collections newsletter, issue 160. It can be found here: https://www.arsc-audio.org/newsletter.html

I did a rudimentary search in both catalogs on the National Archives and the Library of Congress websites, but I could not find anything specific to “Minidoka Matinee.”

I am able to travel to both Archives I and II in order to conduct research in person, if the materials are located there.

Thus, I am looking to find the following materials at the National Archives relating to “Minidoka Matinee” listed below. My first priority is sound recordings, then textual records, then photographs.

Sound Recordings

Record Group 210.6 Sound Recordings (General) 1944-45

Episode recordings, “Minidoka Matinee,” Minidoka Relocation Center, Hunt, Idaho, recorded at radio station KTFI, Twin Falls, Idaho.

Date(s): January-April 1945

Record Group 208.3.4 Records of the Radio Bureau

Special “Minidoka Matinee” recording made for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT).

Date(s): circa June 1945

Record Group 208.5.3 Records of the Radio Program Bureau

Special “Minidoka Matinee” recording made for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT).

Date(s): circa June 1945

Record Group 208.8 Sound Recordings (General) 1941-1947

Special “Minidoka Matinee” recording made for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT).

Date(s): circa June 1945

Textual Records

Record Group 210.3.3 Records of WRA area relocation offices

Documents relating to “Minidoka Matinee” with the Seattle, Washington area relocation office; one WRA report stated that recorded episodes of “Minidoka Matinee” were planned to be rebroadcast by radio stations in Washington and Oregon.

Date(s): October 1944-1946?

Record Group 210.3.4 Records of relocation centers

Documents relating to “Minidoka Matinee,” Reports Division, Minidoka Relocation Center, Hunt, Idaho.

Date(s): October 1944-October 1946


Record Group 210.3.4 Records of relocation centers

Photographs relating to “Minidoka Matinee,” Minidoka Relocation Center, Hunt, Idaho.

Date(s): January-April 1945

"Myer transcribes message to men of 442nd unit," Pacific Citizen, 23 June 1945, p. 3"Minidoka record goes to fighters," Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho, 14 June 1945, p. 12

Search terms:

Minidoka Matinee

Minidoka Matineers

Minidoka Matinee Orchestra

Hunt Orchestra

Minidoka Relocation Center

Reports Division, Minidoka Relocation Center


John F. Graham

Dillon S. Myer

Hero Nishimoto

Hiro Nishimoto

Ted Shimano

Yank of the Week

442nd Regimental Combat Team

442nd RCT