Eddie Y. Imazu


Name Eddie Yasuhei Imazu
Born November 12 1897
Died May 29 1979
Birth Location Yamaguchi, Japan
Generational Identifier

Issei

Eddie Yasuhei Imazu (1897-1979) was a Hollywood motion picture art director and production designer who born on November 12, 1897, in Yamaguchi and immigrated to the United States in 1910 at age thirteen. He graduated from Hollywood High School. He studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, for two years. Following an invitation to a party hosted by actor Sessue Hayakawa, he was offered a job at Metro Studios in the film industry. He initially worked as a draftsman in the art department before he was promoted to art director in 1929 and began handling pictures.

Initially, when Executive Order 9066 was signed, initiating the forced removal of all Japanese Americans off of the West Coast, MGM studio offered Imazu accommodations within the studio in order to retain him as their art director.[1]However, Imazu and his wife Aiko (herself a Los Angeles native and accomplished artist) decided against separating the family and were incarcerated at Santa Anita Assembly Center and in the Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas, camps. The couple had one daughter born before the war, and a second was born at Jerome.[2] The family moved to Rohwer in June 1944 after the closing of Jerome. They left Rohwer to return to Los Angeles in July 1945.[3]

Following his release, he returned to Culver City, California, where he was immediately offered his former job and continued working for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Studio for 35 years as an art director on Hollywood films, including Go For Broke (1951), a dramatic feature exploring the story of the 442nd/100th Battalion.

In 1936, Eddie Imazu was an Academy Award co-nominee for Best Art Direction on The Great Ziegfeld. Imazu's film credits include The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962); The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956); Go For Broke! (1951); and Three Wise Fools (1946). His television credits include: "The Twilight Zone" (1964); "Combat!" (1963-1964); and "The Thin Man" (1958).

He died May 29, 1979 at age 81 in Los Angeles.

Authored by Patricia Wakida

For More Information

Eddie Imazu website: http://www.eddieimazu.org.

Sumida, Alice. "A Portrait Of Eddie Imazu, Art Director At MGM Studio." Pacific Citizen, Dec. 20, 1947, http://www.eddieimazu.org/hollywood-story-a-portrait-of-eddie-imazu-art-director-at-mgm-studios/.

The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942-1945. Los Angeles: Japanese American National Museum, UCLA Wight Art Gallery, and UCLA Asian American Studies Center, 1992.

Footnotes

  1. Alice Sumida, "Hollywood Story: A Portrait of Eddie Imazu, Art Director at MGM Studios", Pacific Citizen, Dec. 20, 1947, 24, accessed on July 16, 2014 at http://www.pacificcitizen.org/digitalarchives/assets/images/full/PCN_19471220_024.jpg.
  2. Pacific Citizen, Aug. 21, 1943, 7, accessed at http://www.pacificcitizen.org/digitalarchives/assets/images/full/PCN_19430821_007.jpg on Feb. 4, 2015.
  3. Final Accountability Record, Rohwer, p. 43. Densho Digital Archive.