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Documenting Manzanar - Part 13 of 18 (Toyo Miyatake)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 12 >>While Lange and Adams photographed Manzanar from the outside, Toyo Miyatake was the ultimate insider. Imprisoned at Manzanar almost from its opening to its closure, from 1942 to 1945, Miyatake witnessed and photographed, at first surreptitiously, then with official permission, a much broader range of scenes and …

Documenting Manzanar - Part 12 of 18 (Dorothea Lange)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 11 >>“Everything Is Propaganda”Lange’s outlook on life informed the pictures she took at Manzanar. Where Adams saw the rugged natural setting as spirit-lifting and awe-inspiring, Lange saw it as brutal and oppressive. Where Adams saw opportunity and triumph of spirit at Manzanar, Lange saw suffering and a gross …

West Coast Nikkei Eldercare: Planning for New and More Diverse Systems of Care

Part IV: Seattle’s Nikkei Concerns

Nancy Matsumoto

Having surveyed the landscape of Nikkei long-term care choices in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Sacramento and San Jose, I turned my attentions to Seattle, the last stop on my reporting tour. Although Japanese immigrants began arriving in Seattle in the late 19th-century, its Nihonmachi population has always been small …

Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Reaching out to relatives and friends after the Great Tohoku Earthquake

Nancy Matsumoto

I woke on the morning of March 11 to an email from a friend saying she had just heard about a massive quake in Japan and she hoped that my relatives and friends there were safe. It was the first of many such emails and phone calls I received in …

Documenting Manzanar - Part 11 of 18 (Dorothea Lange)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 10 >> Part Two: Dorothea Lange When Lange arrived at Manzanar in 1942 to take photos for the WRA, she was already famous for her 1930s documentary photos of the rural poor, part of her work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Her best known work, the bleakly …

Documenting Manzanar - Part 10 of 18 (Ansel Adams)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 9 >> It was not until I looked at an online version of the 1944 Born Free and Equal ( ) that I felt the full impact of Adams’s message. This original version includes several landscapes omitted from a 2002 reprint (Spotted Dog Press, Inc., Bishop, CA), including his majestic …

Documenting Manzanar - Part 9 of 18 (Ansel Adams)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 8 >> Walking a Fine Line  In Born Free and Equal, Adams struggled to walk a fine line between advocating for the imprisoned Japanese while not leaving himself vulnerable to charges of disloyalty. The Nisei, too, walked that line, balancing hurt and anger with a desire for approval …

Documenting Manzanar - Part 8 of 18 (Ansel Adams)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 7 >>Adams, Paul Strand, and the Nisei Point of ViewHammond also defended Adams’s style against critics who found his photographs lacking in pathos or without political context. Karin Becker Ohrn, for example, in 1977 favorably contrasted Lange’s photos of concentration camp prisoners, who appeared “less controlled even slightly uncomfortable,” …

Documenting Manzanar - Part 7 of 18 (Ansel Adams)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 6 >>Born Free and Equal: Differing InterpretationsIn the late 1970s three graduate students in the UCLA Fine Arts Program created an exhibition and book called “Two Views of Manzanar,” which included photographs by Adams and Miyatake. Graham Howe, who along with Patrick Nagatani and Scott Rankin, opened the …

Documenting Manzanar - Part 6 of 18 (Ansel Adams)

Nancy Matsumoto

Read Part 5 >>Ansel Adams: Gifted Pianist Turned Master PhotographerBy the time he arrived at Manzanar in October 1943 for the first of four working visits, Adams was a successful and famous photographer. He had helped launch the short-lived but important organization of West Coast photographers Group f/64, had exhibited …

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I am a Toronto and New York City-based freelance writer who covers food, agriculture and the environment for publications including The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Civil Eats. Nancy is the co-author of The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders: Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating & Positive Body Image at Home. She is a 2018 Stone Barns Exchange Fellow and a certified advanced sake professional.Web site:; blog:

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