Riichi Ashizawa (also known as George Asher) was a photographer and entrepreneur in San Francisco, California. Ashizawa was
a Yamanashi native who came to the United States in 1899. He ran businesses such as Yamato Laundry, Asher's Picture House,
Asher's Art Shoppe, and
Ho-Bi-Do. The collection includes biographical essays written by Ashizawa and photographs (with selected negatives) that he took for
the Japanese American communities in the San Francisco area. Photocopies of documents and photographs of his businesses are
Issei immigrant, photographer and entrepreneur Riichi Ashizawa (芦芦沢履一) was born in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1882, the second
son in his family. He arrived in San Francisco in 1899. In 1901, he became the owner of Yamato Laundry and later Golden Gate
Laundry. In 1906, after experiencing the San Francisco earthquake, Ashizawa moved to Chicago, Denver and then Philadelphia.
He studied art, chemistry and dyeing textiles during this period. In 1915, Ashizawa returned to San Francisco and worked as
a photographer for a Japanese daily newspapers, the Shinsekai Shimbun (formerly Hokubei Mainichi News) and Nichibei-jiji (formerly Nichibei Times). In 1916, Ashizawa started a roving photography business by installing a darkroom in his car, a 1912 Studebaker, and he
photographed people and scenery in the Golden Gate Park area. Ashizawa opened an antique and artistic picture framing shop,
Asher's Art Shoppe on Sutter Street in 1920. In the same year, he married Susie Suzuki (鈴木壽々) from Yokohama, Japan and later
had a son Roy and a daughter Sumiko. During World War II, Ashizawa and his family were incarcerated in the Topaz Relocation
Center, also known as the Central Utah Relocation Center, near Delta, Utah. Ashizawa worked as a police officer in the Relocation
Center. After the war, Ashizawa resumed his business at Ho-Bi-Do (芳美堂) on Polk Street.
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