ENARI Tsuneo

Enari Tsuneo at his exhibition in Sagamihara, Kanagawa in 2019.

ENARI Tsuneo 江成 常夫 (1936.10.8- ) Sagamihara, Kanagawa Pref.

Prominent documentary photographer covering war-related, social issues. Chairman of the Nikkor Club, an amateur camera club organized by camera maker Nikon. Professor at Kyushu Sangyo Univ. and lecturer at Taisho Univ.

Major themes Renmants of Japan's involvement in war, Japanese "war brides" married to US soldiers, Hiroshima, Manchuria

Education Graduated Tokyo Keizai Univ. in economics.

Career Worked for the Tokyo head office of Mainichi Newspapers from 1962 to 1974. Turned freelance photographer in 1974 and moved to New York where he photographed families. In 1976, started taking portraits of Japanese families in the Tohoku, Kanto, and Okinawa areas.

Lived in Gardena, California for one year from 1978 to 1979 to photograph Japanese "war brides" living in California with their husbands who were US servicemen in Japan during the 1950s and '60s. The photos are later published in Asahi Camera magazine as a series.

In 1981 and 1982, visited China to photograph Japanese war orphans left behind in the former Manchuria since the end of World War II. The photos are published in Mainichi Graph magazine.

In 1985, photographed Hiroshima (later published in Asahi Camera magazine) as well as international married couples in Japan. Visited the former Manchuria in China multiple times from 1989 to 1995 and photographed the remnants of the Japanese wartime occupation.

In 1990, participant in the Photography Biennale Rotterdam in Holland. Visited California for a total of three months during 1997 and 1998 to revisit the Japanese war brides he had met 20 years earlier. The photos were published in a book. (2000.12.12)

Awards Newcomers Award, Photographic Society of Japan, 1977; 6th Kimura Ihee Award, 1981; 4th Domon Ken Award, 1985; 52nd Mainichi Advertising Design Award, 1985; 37th Mainichi Art Award, 1995.

Japanese War Brides in California 1978-1998 花嫁のアメリカ歳月の風景1978-1998

Reviewed on: 2000.12.10 Last modified: 2019-07-02

Portraits of Japanese women (and their families) who married US servicemen in Japan in the 1950s and '60s. (Japanese title: Hanayome no America Saigetsu no Fukei 1978-1998)


Published: 2000.08.09 Publisher: Shueisha ISBN: 4087811999 Price in Japan: ¥3,990 Qualities: Hard cover, B/W photos Size: A4, 229 pp. Language: Japanese

Senso Hanayome means "war bride" in Japanese. You might think that she is a bride who married a man who went off to war. But that's not what it really means in Japanese. The term was commonly used in Japanese newspapers and magazines from the end of World War II in 1945 until about 1955 shortly after the Korean War. It merely referred to Japanese women who married a foreigner (usually American) working in the military. He was not necessarily someone who actually went to war. He could have been an MP (military police) or even a chef in the mess hall on base.

War bride marriages started with the Allied (mainly US) Occupation of Japan after World War II. Inevitably, American military personnel met and fell in love with local women and vice versa. After the Occupation ended in 1952, America's strategic interest in Japan continued with the Korean War and Vietnam War. Japan (Okinawa especially) served as a springboard for military missions to these Asian countries. With the American military ever present on Japanese soil, international marriages between US servicemen and Japanese women continued. During the 30 years from the end of WWII to the end of the Vietnam War, it is estimated that several tens of thousands of Japanese women married American servicemen and moved to the US.

In the 1950s and '60s, most Japanese parents were prejudiced against marriages with foreigners. They vehemently opposed a daughter marrying a foreigner. But these Japanese "war brides" went through with the marriage anyway. They left Japan without the blessing of their parents only to face more prejudice and a language barrier in an unfamiliar land full of people who hated the "Japs" during the war. Even the US military frowned upon such marriages.

Times have changed. Marriages between Japanese women and US military personnel stationed at US bases in Japan still occur, but with much more social tolerance (in both Japan and America) than ever before. And living in the US for the Japanese is much more comfortable than ever before. In fact, living in America is probably more comfortable than living in Japan for many Japanese.

Tsuneo Enari, the book's photographer and author, lived in Gardena, California for a year from 1978 to 1979. Gardena, near Los Angeles, has (or had) a large Japanese-American population. During his stay, Enari interviewed and photographed over 100 Japanese "war brides" living in California who married and moved to America in the 1950s or '60s. He listened to their stories of how they met their American husbands, how and when they got married, and various anecdotes. The women interviewed were already middle-aged and busy raising their young or teenage children. Enari's photographs of the war brides and their husbands and children were subsequently published and exhibited in Japan where they were well-received.

Twenty years later in 1997 and 1998, Enari made three trips to California and stayed for a total of three months to visit as many of the war brides he had met 20 years earlier. He was able to meet 43 of them and was saddened to find that the others either died or moved away to an unknown address. He wanted to see how they were doing after 20 years and to hear the continuing story of their life in America. He photographed them again along with their families.

The book is a collection of then (1978-79) and now (1997-98) portraits of the 43 revisited war brides. The pictures include the husbands (if still alive) and their children and often grandchildren. There are also seven portraits taken in 1978-79 that do not have a "now" portrait because she had already died. As Enari states, the biggest difference between then and now were the children and grandchildren. The second generation has grown and progressed with their lives. By 1997-98, most of the war brides were grandmothers in their 60s or 70s.

Each picture is captioned with the name (in English) of the war bride, her city of residence, her year and place of birth, how she met her husband, when they were married, when they moved to America, the number of sons and daughters, her and her husband's past and present occupations, and when the husband retired or died (if applicable). The book also has separate essays that give more detail on the war brides' "human drama."

Each war bride has a different story. One woman living in Gardena married a black man against the wishes of her father whom she did not subsequently see for over 30 years. Another woman married five times. She had lost her previous husbands either by accidental death or divorce. Now she's happy with a husband 16 years her junior. A few husbands left home one day and never returned. Divorce was the final result. The result was the same with husbands who drank too much or had an illicit affair. When there was a divorce or an untimely death of the husband, the war bride had to raise and support the children herself. She usually worked at a menial job such as a waitress, house maid, or seamstress.

Most of the war brides still have a strong affection or affinity for Japan (with Japanese dolls and things decorating the house). But a few feel more distant from Japan as the years passed and blood relatives died out. And all have made America their permanent home. It is where their children and grandchildren are. Some do admit that they have become too accustomed to the US and would not be able to return to Japan to live. It is a fact that they have lived in America much longer than in the Japan.

I was disappointed to find that none of the war brides in the book married a Japanese American or even an Asian American. The husbands featured are all white or black (12 of the 50 husbands are black). I wonder what the statistics were on the number of Japanese women marrying Japanese Americans who were among the Americans in Japan during the Occupation and at the military bases. (Perhaps they looked too much like a normal Japanese and were not exotic enough for the women.) My question is, would the woman's parents have opposed the marriage even if the husband were Japanese American (i.e., looked like a Japanese)? That's one story that's missing.

Another story that is missing is the husband's. Of course, the main theme of the photographs and book focuses on the Japanese war bride, but it takes two to make a couple and leaving out the husband's story makes it only half complete. What was it like to be married to a Japanese woman soon after WWII? What prejudice and struggles did he go through because she was Japanese? What did his parents and family think about her? And what about the children? What problems and struggles did they encounter? What do they think of their dual heritage or ethnicity?

Some of the children might consider themselves as Japanese Americans. Where I come from (Hawaii), the term "Japanese American" normally refers to Americans born to parents both having Japanese ancestry. It's the nisei, sansei, yonsei, etc., generations. Racially-mixed people born to a parent of Japanese ancestry and one non-Japanese parent are not considered to be Japanese Americans. They are called part-Japanese or "hapa" (half). (Some people call them "double.")

As an ethnic group, Japanese Americans are fast becoming extinct because of intermarriage with other ethnic groups. Perhaps when there are too few "pure" Japanese Americans left, they will start including part-Japanese people as Japanese Americans. But it really depends on what these part-Japanese and part-American people consider themselves to be. If they call themselves "Japanese Americans," I can accept that. But it may disregard the ethnic background of their fathers. What if the father is an American of Italian, African, or Chinese descent? Would the child still be "Japanese American" in all cases? Or would it be Japanese-Italian, Japanese-African, or Japanese-Chinese? It can get really confusing. Perhaps we should just stick to plain, old "American" for everybody.

Besides the common problems and struggles of any marriage, the inherent difficulties of international marriages have always existed and will continue to exist no matter who or what ethnic background the husband or wife is. Geographical distances between families, cultural differences, cultural acceptance and assimilation, homesickness, language barriers, and how to raise bilingual and bicultural children are major issues in most international marriages even today.

It's too bad that this book is not in English. Only the book's title and the names of the war brides are in English. If there's a book that should be in English, it's this book. For one thing, the American husbands and children pictured in the book should be able to read their complimentary copies of the book. And without English, the book can't really be sold in America, even to college students studying racial discrimination, Japanese Americans, international marriages, or postwar Japanese history.

The photographer hopes that this book will help restore the honor of these women and to leave a record of just one small facet of Japan's Showa Period.

Here are the names of the 50 Japanese war brides (and their locale) featured in this book: Keiko McMullen (Mill Valley), Mizue Delesdernier (Lancaster), Sumie Cheeks (Spring Valley), Toriko Fork (San Diego and Las Vegas), Kumiko Peyton (Oceanside and Las Vegas), Misako Nollie (Gardena), Michi Washam (Gardena and Torrance), Kiyo Alwood (Salinas), Miyoko Smith (Fairfeld), Haruko Burke (Fairfield), Hiroko Castagna (Vista), Hiro Longenett (Oceanside), Saeko Wheeler (Carson, Huntington Beach, Long Beach), Kyoko Middleton (Huntington Beach), Kazue Watts (National City), Kazue Elliot (Whittier), Takiko Wright (Oceanside), Miyuki Murphy (Long Beach), Marian Sperry (Long Beach), Yoko Harmon (Oceanside), Hiroe Clow (Los Angeles and Gardena), Hisako Delano (Reseda), Kazuko Wood (Lancaster), Chieko Schuyler (Lancaster), Fumie Alverson (North Edwards), Shizue Johnson (Santa Ana), Rita Richardson (Riverside), Mitsuyo Brinkerhoff (Riverside), Yutaka Ledbetter (Riverside), Joyce Hofreiter (Lompoc), Kyoko Dumas (San Jose), Chisato Curry (Pacifica), Nana Hill (Seaside), Yukie Greco (Sunnymead and Indian Wells), Naoko Stoner (Lakeside), Hiromi Logan (Port Hueneme), Mitsu Barnett (Lompoc), Masako Coronel (San Diego and Imperial Beach), Tamae Allen (Chula Vista and Spring Valley), Minori Yata (Imperial Beach), Kyoko Moody (Chula Vista), Teruko Peery (San Diego), Naomi Campbell (Chula Vista), Mikako Jones (San Diego), Toshiko Collins (San Bernardino), Yoshiko Loughry (Santa Ana and Long Beach), Fumiko Mckay (Santa Ana), Keiko Meyer (Garden Grove), Suzuko Giulietti (Lacosta), Junko Card (Carlsbad).

(Reviewed by Philbert Ono)

Illusive Manchuria - まぼろし国・満州

Reviewed on: 2000.12.16 Last modified: 2005-04-03 Pictures of buildings and remnants from the Japanese occupation (of the former Manchuria in northeastern China.


Published: Apr. 25, 1995 Publisher: Shinchosha ISBN: 4104047015 Price in Japan: ¥5,100 Qualities: Hard cover, B/W photos Size: B4 square, 155 pp. Language: Japanese

The northeast part of China, known as Manchuria during the war, was ruled by Japan from 1932 to 1945. During these 13 years, many buildings were built by the Japanese and you will be astonished to find so many of them still standing today and still in use. The military headquarters, Yamato Hotel, prisons, schools, and the homes of former Japanese residents still exist even after 50 years. You would think the local government would destroy all reminders of this cruel and bitter occupation. But no. It seemed to be a great waste to destroy all these grandiose buildings which could be put to good use by a poor country like China.

Manchuria's Supreme Court building (the cover picture) is now a hospital. The state department building now houses a medical university. A former Shinto shrine (complete with torii gate) is a kindergarten. The former Higashi Honganji Buddhist temple is a warehouse for a traditional dance troupe. The book shows 131 photographs which are quite exhaustive. There are also many interior pictures. It seems like time has stood still in these places.

The photographer took the photos during four visits to northeastern China from 1989 to 1995. Before that he took portraits of Chinese war orphans left behind by their Japanese parents during the confusion after the war. It was during this project that he first visited Manchuria in 1981 and found out about all these Japanese-built buildings. This book won Enari the 37th Mainichi Art Award in 1995. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono)

Biography in Japanese

1936年 神奈川県生まれ。

1962年 毎日新聞本社に入社。

1974年 毎日新聞社を退職フリーとなる。以後、国内をはじめ、アメリカで「戦争花嫁」、中国で「中国残留日本人孤児」など撮影。戦後経済発展のもとで忘れられてきた日本人を通し、写真の普遍的価値を問い続ける。 現在、ニッコールクラブ会長、ニコンサロン運営委員、九州産業大学大学院教授、土門拳賞選考委員、神奈川県美術展委員。


1977年 第27回日本写真協会新人賞 「ニューヨークの百家族」

1981年 第6回木村伊兵衛写真賞 「花嫁のアメリカ」

1985年 第4回土門拳賞 「シャオハイの満州」、「百肖像」


1995年 第37回毎日芸術賞 「まぼろし国・満洲」、「記憶の光景・十人のヒロシマ」

2001年 第50回日本写真協会年度賞

写真集 「花嫁のアメリカ 歳月の風景 1978-1998」、写真展「昭和史の風景」



2002年 紫綬褒章


1976年 「家族・ニューヨーク」(新宿ニコンサロン)

1978年 「ヤーニンジュ・OKINAWA」2人展 (銀座ミキモトギャラリー)

1980年 「花嫁のアメリカ」(銀座ニコンサロン)

1984年 「小日本人」(銀座ニコンサロン)

1985年 「シャオハイの満州-百肖像」 (銀座ニコンサロン)

1990年 「ニューヨーク日記」(銀座ニコンサロン)

1992年 「グループ展・変容する家族の記録」 (東京都写真美術館) 「家族の肖像 1976~1992」 (銀座ニコンサロン)

1995年 昭和史の記憶「まぼろし国・満洲」「ヒロシマ-万象」(新宿ニコンサロン)

2000年 昭和史の風景「花嫁のアメリカ 1978-98」「シャオハイの満州」「ヒロシマ-万象」 (東京都写真美術館)


1976年 「ニューヨークの百家族」(平凡社)

1980年 「花嫁のアメリカ」(朝日新聞社、講談社)

1984年 「シャオハイの満洲」(集英社、新潮社)

1995年 「まぼろし国・満洲」(新潮社)など多数

(https://www.nikon-image.com/ より)