Real Japanese Life in Post-war Period Witnessed
by American Woman:
• Post-war photos taken by an American woman have been exhibited at the Chicago Futabakai Japanese School in Arlington Heights until July 17. More than 100 photos including 60 color photos show first-hand Japanese lives from 1946 to 1947.
• The photos were taken by Annette Chait Finestone whose
adventurous spirit brought her to an unknown land of Japan. In her late
20s, she applied for a job with the U.S.’s General Headquarters (GHQ),
which administered Japan directly after WWII. She arrived by ship to Japan
in March, 1946, and after an eight-week orientation in Tokyo, she was
assigned to the 5th Air Force headquarters in Nagoya, a city between Tokyo
and Osaka. Her job was to place U.S. civilian personnel in various jobs.
• Annette returned to the U.S. in May, 1947 and long
thought that the negatives of the photos were lost; however, she found
them in her shed several decades later. She developed the photos, then
relived her experiences in Japan.
• Interestingly, a photo captioned as “unknown castle
in unknown city” came out as Osaka Castle in Osaka City. According to
Tadashi Sakano, Futabakai Day School Principal, faculty of the school
found a building that was Osaka City Hall.
Annette and Chicago
• Annette is grandaunt of Mutsumi Stone’s husband, Richard
Stone, and the Stones live near Washington D.C. in Virginia. Mutsumi’s
half-Japanese son, Quinn Hayanojo Stone is a student of Washington Japanese
Saturday School, whose teacher, Akira Tanabe, has recently moved to Chicago
Futabakai Japanese School.
• The Stones visited Annette in New Paltz in New York on March 24 this year, a day before Annette’s 102nd birthday. Quinn said that she was very pleased to hear that an exhibit in Chicago was coming and talked about her memories in Japan. Unfortunately Annette passed away on April 14 at age of 102.
• According to Quinn’s release for the exhibit, Annette
was saddened when her GHQ colleagues scattered chewing gums and cigarette
butts on a street and mocked the people who flocked to pick them up. She
said, “We are the same human beings...”
• In 2015, Annette’s photo exhibit was held in Niimi
City, Okayama Prefecture, a sister city of New Paltz. She said in an interview
video, which was made by the City of Niimi, “There are pictures of some
of things that I witnessed while I was there. It was memorable experience
in terms of educating me as the purpose of trip there, what happened prior
to it, and political and social results of the devastating war.” The video
can be seen at
• Quinn wants to spread Annette’s photo exhibit to Japanese schools across the U.S. and worked on fundraising through “Go Fund Me!” He collected $580 and made photo copies, so that more sets of photos were available for exhibitions. Quinn and his mother Mutsumi held an exhibit at Bethesda Elementary School in Maryland last March and are going to hold one in Detroit Japanese Saturday School. The photos will be preserved in the National Showa Memorial Museum in Tokyo where the lifestyles of Japanese people during and after WWII were displayed.
• Quinn and Mutsumi Stone wish to have photo exhibits
in culture related facilities in the Chicago area. Anyone who are interested
in Annette’s photo exhibit, please contact through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images from Annette's photo Exhibit at the Futabakai School
A thin man sells things for food.
It might be the first festival after the war.
Annette Chait Finestone whose adventurous spirit
brought her to an unknown land of Japan in her late 20s.
A sumo tournament. Award is a pumpkin.