Oakland, Ca. Utsumi Studio, [ 1955]. Panoramic silver gelatin photograph, 8 x 30 1/4 inches. Minor edge wear, a few soft creases, mild surface soiling. Very good plus. Item #WRCAM56693
An appealing panoramic photograph featuring the attendees of the 1955 conference of the Western Young Buddhist League. The photograph captures a few hundred finely- dressed Japanese-American men and women posed in a courtyard in Oakland, California. Various delegates to the conference hold handwritten signs, indicating their home cities and regional organizations, which include Marysville, Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Francisco, Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento, Delta, Pasadena and numerous other smaller California cities and locales. There are also banners for attendees from the Stockton Chapter of the Y.B.A., the Coast District of the 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 Oakland photographer Kinji Utsumi, a photographer in the Bay Area both before and after World War II. Utsumi bought his photo studio in 1941, but was forced to close at the outset of the Japanese-American internment period. He then became one of the official photographers at the Topaz internment camp in Utah; he is mentioned in the RAMBLINGS yearbooks for Topaz High School during the internment period. After the war, Utsumi returned to Franklin Street in Oakland and opened another photographic studio. A rare image of a large organization of young Japanese-American Buddhists in California in the middle of the Eisenhower years, with no copies reported in OCLC.