Iwao Matsushita films, circa 1931-1948

Overview of the Collection

Matsushita, Iwao, 1892-1979
Iwao Matsushita films
circa 1931-1948 (inclusive)
15 film reels (3,075 feet) : silent, black and white and color ; 8mm
Collection Number
Matsushita's home movies of skiing, hiking and photography trips to Mt. Rainier and nearby mountain ranges; includes wildflowers, cats and downtown Seattle
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

The original films are not accessible due to preservation concerns. Viewing copies are available and arrangements can be made to view the film by contacting the Visual Materials Curator.

English, Japanese

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

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.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Iwao Matsushita Home Movie Collection consists of 12 home movies and 1 commercial film:

  • Mountains 1933
  • Mountains 1934
  • Mountains 1935-2
  • The House That Cats Built
  • Seattle Here & There
  • Miscellaneous
  • Rainier National Park
  • Skiing at Paradise Park
  • Skiing!
  • Camera Thrills in Wildest Africa
  • Matsushita Assorted Home Movies [title by cataloger]

These home movies primarily cover many trips by Iwao and Hanaye Matsushita and their friends in and around Washington mountain ranges (where they hiked, skiied and took photographs), sights in Seattle and their cats.

Matsushita's home movies of the Seattle area primarily showcase downtown Seattle, Seward Park, Volunteer Park and animals at the Woodland Park Zoo. The University of Washington campus, a football game and a rowing regatta are also shown, along with a parade through downtown Seattle.

Matsushita also created an entire film of his cats; playing, sleeping and eating in their rented house and backyard at 905 24th Avenue South in Seattle, Washington.

Many of the shorter home movie reels (in the Matsushita Home Movies section) focus on flowers, both wildflowers and those domestically grown. These reels are primarily shot in color and also show parts of Glacier National Park and Grand Coulee Dam (and surrounding areas) and Mount Rainier National Park.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Throughout the viewing copy, University of Washington Libraries has inserted intertitles that display the collection name, accession number and reel number for the material that follows. These intertitles were not part of the original material but were created and added to the viewing copy at the time of transfer for clarity and tracking purposes.

Prior to 1986, many 8mm home movies were transferred into the Matsushita Papers collection. These films were weeded. Films were retained which correspond to entries in Matsushita's journals, as well as those which may show other Japanese community leaders such as Kyo Koike.

In his films, Matsushita inserted title cards (some of which are bilingual) for various segments. The information shown on the title cards is represented within quotation marks throughout this finding aid. Segments of the titles that were written in Japanese have been translated for the finding aid by Woods Fairbanks and Izumi Fairbanks. Translated segments of titles are enclosed in square brackets. Segments for which there were no title cards have been given titles within the finding aid by the finding aid author. (These titles are unbracketed and without quotation marks.)

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Participants: Hanaye Matsushita, Kyo Koike.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format.

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact the Special Collections division of the University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Processing Note

Processed by Alden Lee, 2013 ; Elizabeth Russel, 2014 ; Processing completed by Andrew Weaver, 2014.

Original film reels cleaned, cored and rehoused by Hannah Palin, 2004.

Duplicating masters and viewing copies made in 2004.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
viewcopy item
VC50 1-2 Mountains, 1933
Landscape and hiking activities through the following areas in Mt. Rainier National Park: Ohanapecosh River, Silver Falls, Nisqually Glacier, Owyhigh Lakes, Mt. Wow, Klapatche Park and St. Andrews Park. Features handwritten and typewritten titles throughout, often in both English and Japanese.
Original2 reels (400 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
VC50 3   Mountains, 1934-1
Paradise Park. Narada Falls. Snoqualmie Falls. Granite Falls. Skiing at Snoqualmie Pass.
Original1 reel (200 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
VC50 4 Mountains, 1934-3
Snow Lake. Chair Peak. Index, WA. Troublesome Creek. Eagle Falls. Carbon Glacier. Chenuis Mountain. Windy Gap. Klapatche and St. Andrews Park. Yakima Park. Franklin Falls. Van Trump Park. Comet Falls.
Original1 reel (250 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
VC50 5   Mountains 1935-2
Mountains, Hanaye hiking in various locales, a cabin located high up on the mountainside, a group of people picnicking, various birds, Crystal Lake and a visit to some mountain waterfalls during freezing weather.
Original1 reel (150 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
VC50 6   The House That Cats Built
The Matsushita's house. Iwao walks out of the house. Hanaye Matsushita holding cats up for the camera. Ceramic cat statues on a mantle. Cats in the backyard, playing, eating from a bowl, playing with sticks. Felix the Cat cartoon of Felix stealing fish. Cat sitting in a window, yawning, licking its paw. Footage of the garden, the house, chickens, and cats. Cat in the yard, playing in a paper bag and in a rug. Drawings of cats. Cats playing in a window with a toy mouse. Cats outside, playing in a rug, with chickens. Cat in a basket, sleeping. Drawing of a cat sleeping. Iwao yawning.
Original1 reel (150 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
VC50 7   Seattle Here and There
Views of the Puget Sound, and Seattle buildings and streets. Traffic, streetcars and pedestrians as seen from above. Includes scenes of Lincoln Beach, Seward Park, the Smith Tower, and Christmas decorations in downtown Seattle.
Original1 reel (150 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
circa 1933
VC50, VC51 8 Miscellaneous
Scenes of Seattle. A parade through downtown Seattle. The Suzzallo Library and the statue of George Washington at the University of Washington. A football game between the University of Washington and the University of Oregon. The Pike Place Market, Volunteer Park, Woodland Park Zoo and Seward Park. A boat ride through the Ballard (Hiram M. Chittenden) Locks.
The viewing copy of reel 8 is split between two videocassettes.
Original1 reel (200 feet) : silent, black and white and color ; 8mm
circa 1935-1938
VC51 9 Rainier National Park
Mt. Rainier. Narada Falls. The Tatoosh Range. Nisqually Glacier. Plummer Peak. Mt. Adams. Mt. St. Helens. Ohanapecosh Park. Yakima Park. Chinook Pass. Tolmie Peak. Klapatche and St. Andrews Park. Includes scenes of wildlife and people shoveling snow.
Original1 reel (125 feet) : silent, black and white and color ; 8mm
circa 1934, 1936
VC51 10 Skiing at Paradise Park
Various scenes of people downhill and cross country skiing.
Original1 reel (150 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
circa 1935, 1938, 1940
VC51 11 Skiing!
Chinook Pass. Mt. Baker. Various scenes of people skiing. Includes warm weather skiing.
Original1 reel (200 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
VC51 12 Camera Thrills in Wildest Africa
Various wildlife in Africa and ends with the killing of a lionness, which the hunters tie to the hood of their vehicle and drive away.
Produced by Castle Films.
Original1 reel (200 feet) : silent, black and white ; 8mm
circa 1938
VC51 13-15 Matsushita Assorted Home Movies
Miscellaneous footage. Paradise Park. Klapatche and St. Andrews Park. Volunteer Park. A regatta. A zoo. Glacier Park. The Hotel N-P. Seward Park. Tipsoo Lake. Mt. Adams and Ohanapecosh Falls. Lake Chelan. Grand Coulee Dam. Glacier Park.
These reels have been spliced together from many smaller film reels.
Original3 reels (900 feet) : silent, color ; 8mm
circa 1931-1945

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Moving Image Collections (University of Washington)
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Koike, Kyo, 1878 or 9-1947
  • Matsushita, Hanaye, 1898 or 9-1965
  • Matsushita, Iwao, 1892-1979

Corporate Names

  • Seattle Camera Club

Geographical Names

  • Mount Rainier National Park (Wash.)
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Seward Park (Seattle, Wash.)