1954 · Fresno, Ca.
by [Japanese-American Photographica]: [Western Young Buddhist League]
Fresno, Ca.: Kamiyama, 1954. Panoramic silver gelatin photograph, 10 x 35 3/4 inches. Minor edge wear, some creasing and abrading at top right corner, a few soft creases, four small circular stains near bottom right corner. About very good overall. A substantial group photograph featuring the attendees of the 1954 conference of the Western Young Buddhist League. The photograph captures a few hundred finely- dressed Japanese-American men and women posed in a park in Fresno, California. Various delegates to the conference hold handwritten signs, indicating their home cities and regional organizations, which include Stockton, Lodi, Delta, Enmanji, Marysville, Sacramento, Placer, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Berkeley, Florin, Alameda, San Francisco, Oakland, Fresno, Selma, Los Angeles, San Diego, Pasadena, and numerous other California cities and locales. There are also contingents from Arizona, the Western Young Buddhist League's Southern District, the San Fernando Valley Young Buddhists, the Coast District Young Buddhist Association, and the Central California Young Buddhist Association. The elders of the organization sit in chairs in front of the young Bussei.
Interestingly, this photograph was taken by noted and prolific Fresno photographer Urasaburo "Frank" Kamiyama. Frank Kamiyama (1886-1974) was an important Japanese- American chronicler of his own community in Fresno and the surrounding area beginning in the early 20th century. He was arrested on March 27, 1942 as one of eight "named Japanese alien enemies" and interned at Angel Island in California and in Santa Fe, New Mexico during World War II. His family, including his wife, Mitan, and their four daughters, were interned separately at Rohwer in Arkansas (the easternmost of the Japanese internment camps). After the war, Kamiyama continued to photograph the lives of Japanese Americans in California until his death.
A rare image of a large organization of young Japanese-American Buddhists in California in the Eisenhower years, with no copies reported in OCLC. (Inventory #: WRCAM56687)