The Oregon Nikkei Endowment’s Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center was honored by Mayor Charlie Hales by his proclaiming Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center Day on March 5 at the Portland City Council meeting.
The day honored the endowment’s 25th anniversary opening season with its exhibit “Capturing a Generation Through the Eye of a Lens: The Photographs of Frank C. Hirahara — 1948-54,” the Portland debut of “Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain” at the Hollywood Theatre by co-producers David Ono and Jeff MacIntyre, and the exhibit being named a sanctioned event of the Portland Rose Festival.
Celebrating the event at Portland City Hall are (from left) Oregon Nikkei Endowment Executive Director Lynn Longfellow, Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Consul General Hiroshi Furusawa, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, ABC7 Los Angeles TV news anchor David Ono, Content Media Group owner Jeff MacIntyre, Frank C. Hirahara’s daughter Patti Hirahara, Portland Commissioner Nick Fish, Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Portland Rose Festival President-elect Frank Chinn, and Cheri Stuller, chair of the Sanctioned Events Program of the Portland Rose Festival.
The Hirahara photo exhibit will be shown through June 15.
About the Exhibit
“Capturing a Generation Through the Eye of a Lens” features an extraordinary collection of post-war photographs taken of Portland’s Nisei, providing a revealing glimpse into their community and lives. Between 1948 and 1954, Frank Hirahara, a serious amateur photographer who worked for Bonneville Power Administration, captured hundreds of photographs depicting community picnics, beach outings to the Oregon Coast, teen socials and dances, wedding receptions, and life in the heart of Portland’s Japantown. As an active member of the Portland community, he was a member of the Portland JACL, bowled with the Oregon Nisei Bowling League, and was vice president of the Young Buddhist Association representing the Portland region.
As a member of the Photographic Society of America, Portland Photographic Society and the Oregon Camera Club, where he served on the Board of Directors, Hirahara also took photographs of aspiring local models and Portland’s Rose Festival Parade. A native of Washington’s Yakima Valley, he honed his skills as a young photographer and photo editor of the Heart Mountain High School Tempo Annual while incarcerated during World War II with his family at the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming.
This locally curated, multimedia exhibition features artifacts on loan from Washington State University’s Manuscript and Special Collections and the City of Anaheim Public Library along with a short segment of the documentary film “Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain.” The exhibit also shares historic photographs from the Washington State University George and Frank C. Hirahara Collection of Heart Mountain, which is considered to be the largest private collection of photos taken in the camp from 1943-45.
Photo by Curtis Suyematsu/Reflections Photography