Published by [N.p., likely Sacramento, 1952
Panoramic silver gelatin photograph, 8 x 33 3/4 inches. Short closed tear and mild crease near upper left corner, slight silvering to image. Still, in very good condition. A handsome group photograph memorializing the attendees of the 1952 annual conference of the Northern California Young Buddhist League. The photograph depicts over 200 finely-dressed Japanese-American men and women, and even a few Anglo Americans, organized by region, which are indicated by printed signs. The delegates to the conference came from Lodi, Placer, Marysville, Sacramento, Delta, Stockton, and Florin. A sign hanging on a building behind the delegates reads "Greetings Busseis," a general term for Buddhist youth. Interestingly, 1952 was the year that several chapters of Young Buddhists and other Japanese American mutual aid societies and support groups successfully implemented several changes to Japanese immigration policies brought about by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (the McCarran-Walter Act). While this law still provided for some discriminatory policies, it also allowed a new path to citizenship for most Asian Americans. Groups such as the Northern California Young Buddhist League helped many Japanese-American Issei attain citizenship, previously forbidden by U.S. immigration law. A rare image, with no copies reported in OCLC.
Published by Japanese Photo Studio Association, Los Angeles, 1940
Panoramic photograph, 10 x 24 3/4 inches. Minor wear, vertical crease through image near the right edge. Very good. A striking panoramic photograph picturing the Japanese-American celebrants at the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Buddhist school at the Los Angeles branch of the Higashi Honganji Temple. The photograph is titled and dated in Japanese script; it relates the date of the celebration as the 13th, 14th, and 15th of September in the year 2600 (after the birth of the Emperor Jimmu), which is 1940. The photograph pictures a few hundred Issei and Nissei men, women, and children in a mixture of traditional Japanese gowns and caps, and western suits and dresses. There are a few banners in the background relating to the temple and the celebration. The Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple is still active in Los Angeles. The celebration depicted here came just two short years before the beginning of the Japanese-American internment period, which triggered fundamental changes in the practice of the Buddhist faith in America among Japanese-American citizens. As a result of anti-Japanese sentiment in the early 1940s, Buddhists sometimes changed the names of their churches to sound more patriotic. They began to meet on Sundays to emulate Christian worship, while singing from new hymnals that echoed those found in Christian churches. Sects within the church were forced to worship together. And the swastika - a Buddhist symbol for thousands of years - was replaced by the dharma wheel. In addition to the faith itself, Buddhists within the Japanese American community were particularly vulnerable during the internment period. The American government believed that Japanese-American Buddhists were more likely to support Imperial Japan than Japanese-American Christians or those of another faith. Sadly, this also represented the majority of Japanese Americans, since most were Buddhist in the first place. Further, the FBI classified Buddhist priests as "known dangerous Group A1 suspects" and sought them out among the first groups to be imprisoned. Many Buddhist priests were whisked away to relocation centers even before Franklin Roosevelt's issuance of Executive Order 9066. We could locate no other copies of the present panoramic photograph in institutions or auction records. An important photographic record of a portion of the Japanese-American Buddhist community in Los Angeles just a short time before the internment period changed everything.
Published by Green Studio, Salinas, Ca., 1926
Panoramic silver gelatin photograph, 8 x 44 inches. Captioned in the negative in Japanese. Minor bumping, creasing, and some spotting along the right edge including a short closed repaired tear, a few creases, a tiny hole in the grass portion of the image area, light soiling at left edge. Overall very good condition. An early and substantial panoramic photograph depicting hundreds of Japanese Americans celebrating the completion of the Salinas Buddhist Church assembly hall and the installation of the Buddha on November 27-28, 1926. The Salinas Buddhist Church was founded on California Street in 1925 by Issei and Nissei worshippers and the construction was completed on the day this photograph was taken. The opening of the temple was preceded by the Ochigo parade and this image likely pictures the participants in that parade, as many of the children are wearing stylized costumes. The original altar shrine is visible at the center of the image. Several rows of men, women, and children are posed in front of the church, with seven Buddhist priests seated in front of a portable shrine. The adults are dressed in a mixture of traditional and western clothing, and many of them were undoubtedly employed in the numerous canning companies that thrived in Salinas and Monterey in the early 20th century. Many of the men, women, and children in the present photograph were likely among those interned fifteen years later at the camp at Poston, which is where most Japanese Americans from Salinas were sent during World War II. An American flag flies proudly behind the subjects in this photograph. This panoramic photo was taken by the Green Studio, whose blind-embossed stamp is visible at the extreme lower right. The only other example of this image we could locate resides at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles (Object number 99.201.5).