UH Mānoa's Hamilton Library features Takie Okumura's Lantern Slides

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Teri Skillman, (808) 956-8688
Events & Communications Coordinator, UH Manoa Hamilton Library
Posted: Sep 14, 2009

Takie Okumura's lantern slide
Takie Okumura's lantern slide
Takie Okumura’s Lantern Slides, the new exhibit in UH Mānoa's Hamilton Library Bridge Gallery, premiers the Asia Collection’s holdings of lantern slides. The cutting edge technology at the turn of the 20th century, lantern slides were the predecessors of 35mm slides.  The slides include hand-painted color illustrations, black & white photographs and hand-colored photographs. The exhibit is open to the public during library business hours through December 31, 2009.
The collector, Takie Okumura, was born in 1865 in Kōchi-prefecture, Japan.  In his early 20s, he converted to Christianity and was baptized in 1888.  Okumura attended Dōshisha University’s Theological Seminary in Kyoto as a special scholarship student.  He met Rev. John T. Gulick, who was born on Kauaʻi, graduated from Punahou, and was a Darwinian evolutionist. Gulick supported Okumura spiritually and financially during his college years. After graduating from the Seminary, Okumura came to Honolulu in 1894.  He started his missionary work under the Rev. Jiro Okabe at the Japanese Christian Church of Honolulu (currently the Nu’uanu Congregational Church on the Pali Highway).  A year later, Okumura took over as pastor of the Nu’uanu Church.
Okumura was an influential educator in the Japanese community in Hawaii.  He established a Japanese kindergarten and the Honolulu Japanese Elementary School (later Hawaiʻi Chuō Gakuin and then Central Institute). He secured funds, textbooks, and supplies for the school while teaching parents about the importance of education.
About 1896, Rev. and Mrs. Okumura opened their home as a boarding school, known as the Okumura Boys’ and Girls’ Home.  Many second generation Japanese immigrants (Nisei) who studied at the Okumura Home went on to pursue higher education at Mid-Pacific Institute and the University. Rev. Okumura also established the Makiki Christian Church which still stands at 829 Pensacola St. across from McKinley High School.
Okumura’s lantern slides were donated to the Gregg Sinclair Library and the East West Center in 1965 by Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Y. Okumura, Rev. Takie Okumura’s grandson.  The educational lantern slides were influenced by the Japanese government’s agenda to teach morality and discipline in schools through the use of Buddhist tales. Okumura’s personal slides includes Christian stories.  Other themes viewable in the slides include sentimental stories, loyalty, fiscal responsibility, work ethics, respect for elders, scenes from Japanese history, historical figures, landmarks and places of interest, natural disasters, and underserved and disadvantaged people.  There are also examples of political caricatures and Japanese translations of gospels and hymns.
All the Takie Okumura’s Magic Lantern Slides have been digitized and are available for teaching and research at the Library’s Digitized Collection site: http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/lanternslides/.