In 1932, Toyo Miyatake was hired by Asahi Shimbun to document the Los Angeles Olympics. One hundred three Japanese athletes, the second largest delegation, won seven gold medals. While most of these were in swimming, Japan also made Olympics history in track and field when Chuhei Nambu broke the world record for the triple jump. The Japanese community here in Little Tokyo welcomed the athletes and celebrated them with a parade on 1st Street.
For Japanese in the US, this was a complex time. Olympics nationalism is evident in both the photos and poems, echoing the expansionist militarism of the Japanese Empire. At the same time, years of anti-Asian exclusion and Alien Land Laws would eventually culminate in incarceration camps for Japanese Americans.
These photos by Miyatake demonstrate his genius behind the lens. Translated poems from the Torch (1933) poetry publication, commemorating the 1932 Olympics, will also be on display, along with memorabilia from the 1932 and 1964 Olympics.
Funded in part by the generosity of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), City of Los Angeles.
The Torch poetry anthology was published in commemoration of the 1932 Olympics and consisted of 73 writers from Los Angeles, Hawai’i, the greater West Coast, and Japan. Visit the exhibit in-person to read translations from the book!
Published 1933 by Agosta-sha, 233 E. 1st St., Los Angeles. Printed in Japan.
In 1932, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper hired Toyo Miyatake to photograph the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, focusing on the Japanese team. This is Miyatake's home photo album consisting of his personal picks.
This video is part of the JACCC exhibit, Torch: 1932 Los Angeles Olympics Photos by Toyo Miyatake, on display at the Doizaki Gallery.
Collection of Alan Miyatake.
Asahi Shimbun’s book, Olympic Photographs Los Angeles 1932, published by Japan’s education ministry. Collection of Japanese Chamber of Commerce.
Tune in to this collection of Japanese and US music from 1932-1933.