Memories To Light

Home Movies

Tachibana Family Collection

Video: Masao Torigoe, Gavin’s Grandfather

Video: Swimming in Kaneohe

“As our home movies show, we enjoyed going to Hawaii to visit family in the summer and play on the beach. My mom, Florence, was raised in a rural town on the Big Island, where her grandparents moved to from Japan in 1899 to work as “cane cutters” on the sugar plantations. Florence left the islands to attend college in Iowa before getting her master’s degree in education at Pepperdine and working as a public school teacher in Hawthorne for more than three decades. (Her father Masao attended the Illinois Institute of Technology and thought so highly of his education, he sent his three children to the midwest for college.)

My dad, Mason, was born in Los Angeles to parents from Japan. In 1942, at the age of 7, he and his parents and five sisters were forced to relocate to Manzanar, the first of the ten concentration camps that incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. (Mason was photographed by Ansel Adams in front of a church at Manzanar, later published in Adams’ book Born Free and Equal.) Mason put himself through college at Cal State Northridge, then got his master’s in social work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Mason and Florence got married and had one son, Gavin, whose childhood was filled with basketball and baseball teams – coached by his father – and music and science classes – supported by his mother – and family trips near and far, recorded and photographed to remember.”

-Gavin Tachibana