What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

1930s Japanese American Portraits - actors?

Bunkerhill

後輩
Joined
17 Aug 2016
Messages
114
Reaction score
22
Hello,

I recently added a number of 8x10 photo portraits of Japanese Americans to my collection. At least, I believe they are JA as they were taken by the Ninomaya Photo Studio of Los Angeles, California. They could depict Japanese visiting America - I simply do not know. But each bears a signature within the negative so with some help I will be able to identify these people.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Group 2.jpg
Group.jpg
 

Bunkerhill

後輩
Joined
17 Aug 2016
Messages
114
Reaction score
22
Fifth portrait. The name is written in English but I can not decipher the writing. If the gentleman is an actor and this is a publicity still, maybe someone familiar with Japanese film history has a clue as to who he is? I've no idea but would love to put a name to the photo.
5.jpg
5 A.jpg
 

Bunkerhill

後輩
Joined
17 Aug 2016
Messages
114
Reaction score
22
Thank you! I wonder what he was doing in Los Angeles. Very curious.
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
2,245
Reaction score
1,248
Third portrait
為野尻君
宇土囗雄

For Nojiri-kun
(signed) Uto o (Hideo, Shigeo, some given name ending in "o")

Regarding #4, I cannot be 100% sure the photo is the same person as the Seigō Nakano I linked to in Wikipedia. But the name is the same, and the features are so close I think it would be a pretty interesting coincidence if they were two separate people. I also wondered about the LA link. From the quick search I did on Seigō Nakano, he apparently traveled to Germany in 1937, and passed through Honolulu on his want back to Japan in February 1938. It is possible his return trip also made a stop in Los Angeles. Being a notable figure, and still at peace with America (albeit an uncomfortable one), it is not unusual he would have been worthy of news attention in Little Tokyo at the time.

Anyway, I cannot be completely sure, so we shouldn't discount the possibility that this is another Seigō Nakano.

These pictures are great. I was just reading up on Ninomiya's studio and the efforts to archive the photos found in the building where his studio was located. Are you part of that effort? If not, the people archiving the photos might be able to help also.
 

Bunkerhill

後輩
Joined
17 Aug 2016
Messages
114
Reaction score
22
No, I am not part of that effort but what a project that is. An entire history of Japanese Americans and it will take a good deal of time to catalog it all.

I think you have identified the man correctly after studying other photos. Especially the hair style and the name really cements the ID.

I was thinking of finding an historian of 20th century Imperial Japan on Twitter and going from there.

thank you!
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
17,184
Reaction score
3,379
The woman in kimono in the first picture is 坂東三津美 Bandō Mitsumi; a famous master of a classical Japanese dance Bandō school. She went to Los Angeles to do performances, and also taught dance to Japanese-American pupils.
 

Bunkerhill

後輩
Joined
17 Aug 2016
Messages
114
Reaction score
22
Toritoribe, the woman in the group photo dressed in the Kimino - correct?
 

Bunkerhill

後輩
Joined
17 Aug 2016
Messages
114
Reaction score
22
Excellent! Thank you.
I also have a single 8x10 of the woman seen third in line in the group photo. What a beautiful lady - very stylish. Maybe they are part of a visiting dance group. Will see what I can find out about Miss Mitsumi.
 
Top Bottom