Japanese American National Museum
Collections & Research

Museum Collections Film Preservation

The Japanese American National Museum has published a trove of rare home-movie footage from the Museum’s historic collections on its Discover Nikkei website.

This online collection includes rare home-movie footage of over 330 film clips about the daily lives of Japanese Americans from the 1920s through the 1960s including poignant footage from America’s World War II concentration camps. Drawn from the National Museum’s permanent collection, these films have been preserved, digitized, and published with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF), and in collaboration with Denshō, the Japanese American Legacy Project.

By providing this significant body of primary-source multimedia for educational use, the Museum hopes to stimulate students’ and educators’ curiosity about the rich lives and varied activities of America’s diverse peoples and cultures.

To learn more about the films, download the brochure >>



Masao Akiyama Collection
(Black & white and color, 1936–1941; 10 minutes, 7 clips)
Footage of the K.M. Akiyama Co. grocery store in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles; the Akiyama family at home.
Setsuo Aratani Collection
(Black & white, 1926–1940; 60 minutes, 32 clips)
Family and business activities of California businessman Setsuo Aratani (1885–1940), including the Guadalupe Produce Co., trips to Yosemite, and Aratani’s Buddhist funeral.
Lloyd Evans Collection
(Color, 1945; 05:58, 5 clips)
Buildings and activities at the Heart Mountain (Wyoming) concentration camp.
Ben Fukuzaki Collection
(Black & white and color, 1940s–1950s; 46 minutes, 48 clips)
The Japanese American community in Terminal Island and San Pedro, California. Footage of the fishing industry; the annual Fisherman’s Fiesta; fashion shows, football games, and family events.
Naokichi Hashizume Collection
(Black & white, 1945; 23 minutes, 23 clips)
Activities at the Heart Mountain (Wyoming) concentration camp, including meals in mess halls, laundry, handicrafts, sports, traditional celebrations and pastimes. Also barracks interiors, windstorms, and a winter carnival.
Soshiro Kiyama Collection
(Black & white, 1930s; 13 minutes, 19 clips)
Japanese American business and family life in Los Angeles and Southern California, including agricultural work, produce markets, domestic scenes, and a Japanese festival parade.
Charles Palmerlee Collection
(Color, 1942–1945; 31 minutes, 25 clips)
Activities at the Tule Lake (California) detention center, filmed by a teacher. Footage of school personnel, a graduation ceremony, Japanese dance performances, handicrafts, youth fellowship groups, and the camp’s conversion to a segregation facility.
Rev. Sensho Sasaki Collection
(Black & white, 1926–1933; 29 minutes, 48 clips)
Japanese American communities in Stockton and Los Angeles (California), and Tacoma (Washington), filmed by a Buddhist minister. Footage of church activities, sports, recreation, tourism, and children playing.
Dave Tatsuno Collection
(Black & white and color, 1930s–1950s; 119 minutes, 112 clips)
Pre-war footage of family outings, sporting events, holidays, celebrations, and the family dry-goods business in San Francisco. People and activities at the Topaz (Utah) concentration camp, and a return visit after the camp’s demolition.
Yamada Family Collection
(Black & white and color, 1930s–1960s; 17 minutes, 15 clips)
A Yamada family wedding ceremony and restaurant reception in Los Angeles, and an anniversary celebration.


Access all 334 clips on Discover Nikkei


Major support provided by:
National Film Preservation Foundation The Nippon Foundation



Jump to Top of Page Japanese American National Museum home   ▪   Privacy Policy
Copyright © 1998-2019 Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles California 90012   ▪   phone: 213.625.0414