Toyo Miyatake's Camera

Nobuho Nagasawa

1993. 369 E. 1st St.

From the plaque:

First-generation Japanese American photographer Toyo Miyatake (1895) opened his photography studio in Little Tokyo in 1923 and spent the rest of his life documenting his community's life on film. When Miyatake, his family and 120,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II, Miyatake bravely smuggled a camera lens and a film plate, considered contraband, into the Manzanar concentration camp in California. Using a secretly-constructed camera, he captured everyday life in Manzanar.

Artist Nobuho Nagasawa created a three-times-as-large bronze replica of the Miyatake camera in homage to Toyo Miyatake. The sculpture projects slides of Miyatake's work onto a window of the Japanese American National museum each evening. This sculpture was commissioned by the Community Redevelopment Agency and was first installed in 1993.

Originally, the sculpture stood on First Street; it is currently located in the plaza west of the Japanese American National Museum.

One of the slides that displays on a rotating basis on the wall of the Museum in the evening:


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