Asian Reporter Info
RARE HOME MOVIES. The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) has announced that 15 reels of 16mm home movies shot by the Tsuboi family are now available for viewing on the OHS Digital Collections website. The films document the day-to-day activities of a Japanese-American family living in the Pacific Northwest spanning multiple generations and contain rare scenes of family life both before and after World War II. Pictured are screenshots taken from video of trips to Mount Hood (left) and the Pendleton Round-Up (right). (Images courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society)
From The Asian Reporter, V30, #10 (September 7, 2020), page 13.
Rare Japanese-American 16mm home movies, ca. 1925-1960, now available for viewing online
The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) has announced that 15 reels of 16mm home movies shot by the Tsuboi family are now available for viewing on the OHS Digital Collections website. The films document the day-to-day activities of a Japanese-American family living in the Pacific Northwest spanning multiple generations and contain rare scenes of family life both before and after World War II.
With his older brother Suma, Teruo Tsuboi ran the Tsuboi Brothers store located at 315 Burnside Street in Portland. The store sold western-style clothing and jewelry, and after World War II, added an optometrist exam room.
Teruo and Suma Tsuboi emigrated from Okayama, Japan, to Portland in the early 20th century. They had four children (called nisei, or the children of Japanese immigrants born in the United States) ó Teruhisa "Ted," Akiko, Sachiko, and Kazuko.
Films include, in part: family visits to the Pendleton Round-Up, drives through the snow in downtown Portland, Rose Festival parades, a Japanese baseball team at Civic Stadium, family members posing near Mount Hood, trips to and from Japan via ship, a brief glimpse of the ruins of the Minidoka incarceration camp in Idaho, a trip to Los Angeles in 1931, and various Pacific Northwest vacations and scenes from family life.
Lucy Capehart of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon (formerly called the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center), noted that the "Tsuboi films provide a magical window into Portlandís past. The films also show that Japanese Americans have been part of Portlandís social fabric for generations ó participating in the Rose Festival parade, riding a bike down a neighborhood street, and playing baseball."
When 16mm film first hit the consumer market in the late 1920s, it was available mainly to those who could afford the relatively high cost of film and a camera. As 16mm became more affordable, with the added ability to shoot in color, it became the main method of documenting twentieth century family life, before being displaced by 8/S8mm, magnetic videotape, and digital video.
To view the reels, including those titled "Model T," "Portland Winter Scenes," "Color Parade," and "Sea Scenes Aboard Freighter ó Japanese Scenery," visit <https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/tsuboi-family-home-movies>.
To learn about efforts being made to preserve the experiences of Asian Americans through home movies, visit the Memories to Light website at <https://caamedia.org/memoriestolight>; Memories to Light is a project of the Center for Asian American Media.
The Center for Home Movies, <www.centerforhomemovies.org>, is another resource that is documenting the importance of collecting and preserving home movies.
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