Salinas, Ca. Green Studio, 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. Item #WRCAM56840
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).