E-mail us: amdb@ucalgary.ca

Iwao Matsushita

Gender:

Male

Awards/Recognition

University of Washington Libraries list of titled amateur films

Films:

House That Cats Built, The

Seattle Here and There


Biographical Notes

"Iwao Matsushita was born January 10, 1892 in Japan. On January 22, 1919 he married Hanaye Tamura, a fellow Japanese citizen born March 9, 1898. In September 1919, Hanaye and Iwao emigrated to Seattle, Washington to further Matsushita's academic studies. Eventually, Matsushita did pursue some of his academic aspirations, but prior to doing so he worked as a cook, a hotel manager and then in various positions for Mitsui and Company, a major Tokyo-based trading firm. Matsushita's work for Mitsui and Company paid very well, and during his time of employment at Mitsui, the Matsushitas lived a comfortable middle class lifestyle.

During World War II, Iwao and Hanaye were placed in different internment camps for Japanese Americans, Iwao in Montana and Hanaye at the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho. They were reunited in Idaho in 1944 after Matsushita's transfer to Minidoka. After Hanaye's death in 1965, Matsushita married his second wife Gin, the widow of the Matushitas' friend Asakichi Frank Kunishige, a fellow Seattle photographer. Iwao Matsushita died in 1979, followed by his wife Gin in 1981.

Both Matsushita and his wife were raised as Protestants, and Christianity and spirituality played an important role throughout their lives, and connected with the nature of the Pacific Northwest that the Matsushitas loved. Mount Rainier, which reminded the couple of Japan's "holy mountain," Mount Fuji, played an important part in their lives, and a great deal of Matsushita's filmmaking and photography is focused on or around this mountain.

Matsushita made many trips into Mount Rainier National Park, where he and his friends would hike, ski, photograph and film the area. Matsushita appears to have been particularly enamored iwth the vistas afforded by climbing Mt. Rainier and its surrounding peaks, filming over and over the expansive views and the lines of the surrounding mountain ranges. Klapatche Park, St. Andrews Park, Narada Falls and the Ohanapecosh area were among Iwao and Hanaye's more frequent visits. The Matsushitas also were enthusiastic skiers, exploring the Snoqualmie Pass and Paradise Park areas by cross-country and downhill skiing.

Matsushita, along with Kyo Koike and other pictorialist photographers, started the Seattle Camera Club in the mid-1920s." Archives West.

Bibliographic Resources

The Iwao Matsushita films, circa 1931-1948, are held by the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections Division.

Nicolette Bromberg, "Preserving a Legacy of Light and Shadow: Iwao Matsushita, Kyo Koike, and the Seattle Camera Club," via the University of Washington Libraries.