Portland, February 22nd, 2014. The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is kicking off its 25th Anniversary with the new exhibit “Capturing a Generation through the Eye of a Lens: The Photographs of Frank C. Hirahara, 1948 – 1954.” On display are vintage photos taken by Hirahara.
This collection of post‐war photographs feature the Japanese and Chinese American communities in Portland, activities of the Oregon Camera Club and the Portland Photographic Society, the Portland Rose Festival, the Epworth Methodist Church, and the Oregon Buddhist Temple.
The photographic exhibit is at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, located at 121 NW 2nd Avenue. The Center was created to preserve, educate, and honor the history and culture of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest and to advocate for the protection and civil rights for all. This collection of over 1,000 images was donated to the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, by Frank’s daughter Patti Hirahara of Anaheim, California, and these newly discovered images have helped to provide a pictorial record of this time in history.
After Frank C. Hirahara’s graduation from Washington State University in 1948, Frank was hired by the Department of Interior’s Bonneville Power Administration as an Electrical Engineer in Portland and he worked there till 1954 before moving to California to enter into the new aerospace boom in Southern California. This serious amateur photographer’s work has surprised visitors during advance previews with his attention to composition and detail.
The Frank C. Hirahara photo collection will become a part of DENSHO’s online digital collection which received funding from the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites Grants Program. Frank Hirahara honed his skills as a photographer while as a high school student at Heart Mountain High School, where he was a photo editor and photographer of the school’s “Tempo” annual. He and his father George took and processed over 2,000 photos of the Heart Mountain Japanese Relocation Camp in Wyoming from 1943‐1945 and this collection is considered to be the largest private collection of photos taken there. This Heart Mountain collection was donated to Frank’s alma mater of Washington State University and WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections has collaborated with the Oregon Nikkei Endowment for this exhibit in showing photo panels and artifacts from their George and Frank C. Hirahara Collection.
16 Time Emmy award winner David Ono, co‐anchor for ABC7’s Eyewitness News in Los Angeles, utilized the Hirahara Heart Mountain photos in his documentary “WITNESS – The Legacy of Heart Mountain” and a preview of the documentary is being shown with the Heart Mountain section of this exhibit. Frank Hirahara’s daughter Patti Hirahara, will be coming to Portland to show this new hour long version of the Heart Mountain documentary at the Hollywood Theatre on March 5th.
The exhibit also incorporates photos and historic documents of the “Hirahara Story – 100 Years and Four Generations” from the Hirahara Family Collections at the City of Anaheim Libraries Heritage Center, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Yakima Valley Museum in Yakima, Washington and is a sanctioned event of the Portland Rose Festival. The exhibit is open through– June 15, 2014. The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is located at 121 NW 2nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon and the exhibit will be open from Tue‐Sat 11AM‐3 PM and Sun 12‐3 PM. Admission is $5, $3 seniors (62+) /students, children under 12 free, and free to members of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment. Updates on affiliated exhibit events can be found on the organization’s website at www.oregonnikkei.org. For information about the exhibit and Heart Mountain screening, call (503) 224‐1458.
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About the Oregon Nikkei Endowment
The mission of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment is to preserve and honor the history and culture of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest, to educate the public about the Japanese American experience during World War II, and to advocate for the protection of civil rights for all Americans. Our two projects include the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Waterfront Park, designed by landscape architect Robert Murase, and the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, a place to explore the culture and history of Japanese Americans, located in Portland’s historic Old Town neighborhood.