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Finding Aid for the Riichi Ashizawa papers, 1899-1965 (bulk 1906-1945)
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Riichi Ashizawa papers
    Date (inclusive): 1899-1965 (bulk 1906-1945)
    Collection number: 2010
    Creator: Ashizawa, Riichi
    Extent: 1 half document box (.25 linear feet) and 1 oversize box
    Abstract: 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 also included.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Language of the Material: Japanese and English
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    • Gift of Ashizawa family
    • Gift of Clifford I. Uyeda, April 3, 1965.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Ryoko Onishi in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2010.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Riichi Ashizawa papers (Collection 2010). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233210 


    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.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of autobiographical essays, documents and photographs by Riichi Ashizawa (George Asher), related to Yamato Laundry, Golden Gate Laundry, Asher's Picture House, and Asher's Art Shoppe in San Francisco, California. Ashizawa photographed for the Japanese daily newspapers, Shinsekai Shimbun and Nishibei-jiji and documented the local Japanese group activities such as undo-kai or athletic activities, picnics, arrival of picture brides and so forth. The collection also includes acetate negatives, glass plate negatives, photocopies of business records and correspondence. The photographs, which were taken in San Francisco, Placerville and Los Angeles, California date from approximately 1899 to 1920.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Ashizawa, Riichi, 1882- --Archives.
    Japanese American Research Project (University of California, Los Angeles.)
    Photographers--California--San Francisco--Archival resources.
    Japanese Americans--California--San Francisco--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material


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