Vintage Japantown: Through the Lens of the Takano Studio

Photographer Henry Miyake bought the Takano Studio in 1931, and his portraits are of Japantown's families, weddings, seasonal celebrations, and even baseball teams. (Go, Lotus Trojans!) Japantown once extended from Pioneer Square to what was then called Yesler Hill. With the street grid intact (before the freeway, before the 1940 Yesler Terrace housing project), the slope was covered with small, modest wooden houses. Miyake essentially shows us what was going on inside those homes on special occasions; his frames aren't so much documentary as aspirational and commemorative. They say in part, "Look how assimilated we are. Look how American we've become." After he and his family were illegally interned during World War II, Miyake returned to run his business into the early 1970s. By then, however, the I-5 had further impacted Japantown, which was no longer a neighborhood, but a subject for museum shows. BRIAN MILLER

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: July 8. Continues through Feb. 12, 2011

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