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A Guide to the Willie Funakoshi Photographic Collection, circa 1960s-1980s
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The Willie Funakoshi Photographic Collection,circa 1960s-1980s ,consists of 4 albums of photographs, negatives, and other photographic materials of the Nisei Week Queen and court activities and events. Nisei Week is an annual festival held in Little Tokyo that was first organized by Nisei, or second-generation Japanese Americans, to celebrate their Japanese cultural heritage, and remains an active part of the Japanese American community.
Willie Funakoshi was an active community member in the Little Tokyo neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles. He and nine other “Nisei Pioneers” returned to Los Angeles after World War II in order to reestablish Little Tokyo's Japanese American community when many Japanese Americans never returned post World War II. Each of the “Pioneers” were involved in different fields, and worked together to help Japanese American community members and families. Funakoshi was an insurance broker, primarily insuring homes and automobiles for the Japanese American community. With photography as a hobby, Funakoshi documented community activities in Little Tokyo. He was involved with Nisei Week from its inception in 1934 well into the 1980s. He also started the LA Japanese Optimists club and was a Rotarian. Funakoshi was active in his community until his death in 1986.
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