Oregon Nikkei History

Sharing and preserving Japanese American history and culture

On this site we highlight photos from our historical collection housed at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland's Old Town neighborhood, as well as other information about history and Japanese Americans in Oregon. Please visit www.oregonnikkei.org to learn more about the Oregon Nikkei Endowment and its programs.
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Posts tagged "Portland"

1925 Portland Japanese Community float

This float, part of the Portland Rose Festival’s floral parade, was built during a time of growing anti-Japanese sentiment in Oregon. American and Japanese flags are built into the float railing, with the people in the back also waving flags.

Read more about the history of Japanese Americans in Oregon at the Oregon Encyclopedia.

Rose Festival floral float

Float from the Grand Floral Parade of the Portland Rose Festival, start of route near Multnomah Stadium. This float features a torii at the front and honors Sapporo as Portland’s sister city in Japan. Circa late 1950s.

Rose Festival junior parade

These Nisei girls (and a few boys in the back row) are gathered to march in the Junior Rose Festival parade, circa 1938. The donor of this photo is the girl on the far left.

Odori dancers

These girls are performing bon odori, traditional Japanese Buddhist dancing. The location is unknown.

This scan was taken from a 35mm slide by Frank C. Hirahara, who was an electrical engineer active in the Portland Nikkei community from 1948-54, and took pictures in his spare time as a member of the Portland Photographic Society and the Oregon Camera Club.

Obon in Portland

Frank Hirahara took this photo of odori dancing at an Obon festival, circa 1948-54. Members of the Oregon Buddhist Church and others in the Nikkei community performed bon odori in a number of places over the years, including Washington Park and the North Park Blocks in downtown Portland. This photo may have been taken at Holladay Park in Portland.

Odori Dancers

Photo (taken by Frank C. Hirahara) of members of the Oregon Buddhist Church and Epworth United Methodist Church of Portland, circa 1948-54. They are all holding American and Japanese flags, but the occasion is unknown. Left to right: Ed Tamiyasu, Alice Kida, Jean (Tsujimura) Takashima, Jean (Kida) Tomita, Shizuko (Ochiai) Okazaki, Alice (Matsumoto) Ando.

Council Crest is a park in Portland, and in 1912 (when this picture was taken), Council Crest Amusement Park was a popular attraction, accessible only by streetcar. The amusement park closed in 1929.

Kikuo Hiromura (the image donor’s father) is on the far left of this portrait. The others are unknown.

Nisei field trip

The date and occasion of this outing are unknown, but it is probably in Portland. The image donor’s family lived in Portland, and one of his brothers is in the group of children. Circa 1931.

The Mikado baseball team of Portland, Oregon, circa 1936. Players include George Somekawa, George Marumoto, John Murakami, George Azumano, Art Somekawa, Hood Shiogi, and Salem Yagawa.

Dr. Kei Koyama in his dental office at NW 3rd Avenue and Couch Street in Portland’s Japantown, circa 1941. Dr. Koyama’s office was in the Merchant Hotel building.

Teruo Tsuboi at the Tsuboi Bros. jewelry store, possibly repairing a pocket watch, circa 1920. The Tsuboi Bros. store was located in Portland’s Japantown on what is now NW 6th Avenue and Burnside Street.

1937 Undokai, Portland

The annual undokai (or community picnic) was the big event of the year, usually held in the early summer. Activities included races and dancing for both children and adults. The undokai always included an elaborate lunch with tasty dishes such as nishime, onigiri, fried chicken, teriyaki chicken, dried fish, pickles and sushi. This photo is dated May 13, 1937, and was taken in Portland, Oregon.

JACL Convention farewell banquet

The 6th biennial national JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) convention was held at the Multnomah Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon, in 1940.

From the Pacific Citizen:
“At the last prewar biennial (Portland: Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at Multnomah Hotel), Saburo Kido was elected national president. Unbeknownst, he and the rest of the elected national officers were to hold rein for six years - the duration of World War II.”

The Girl Reserves Nisei basketball team of Portland, Oregon, circa 1940.

The Enzo Iwashita family at a picnic in Portland, Oregon, circa 1929.