Here is a great photo of over sixty persons, mainly young children and about twenty teens and adults, posed on the wide and tall stairs at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Boyle Heights.
Taken on 4 January 1925, the image is almost certainly for education classes for Japanese children, although there are no inscriptions or markings on the photo to identify the occasion or the subjects.
As usual with large group photos, especially of kids, you see a wide variety of expressions from those with serious faces to others with wide smiles, some looking a little puzzled and other distracted or with eyes closed.
The photographer was Sadaichi Imada (1885-1952), who had a studio at 239 1/2 East 1st Street in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles. A native of Hiroshima, Japan, Imada emigrated to the United States in 1902. It appears he began work as a photographer early on as he was listed with this occupation when he registered for the draft during the First World War.
Imada and his family lived at his studio in the 1910s and then later lived near what is now Koreatown, west of downtown Los Angeles. During internment in World War II, Imada was sent to the Pima camp in Arizona and records in 1942 showed him to be a "retail manager" as his primary line of work and as a photographer for his secondary employment. He lived for several years after the war ended and his confinement in the concentration camp was over and he died in Los Angeles in 1952 at age 67.
For more on the temple, click here for a 2012 post on this blog.
If anyone out there knows what the occasion was for the photo or knows of any of the persons shown, leave a comment!
Contributed by Paul R. Spitzzeri, Assistant Director, Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum and Boyle Heights Historical Society Advisory Board member.