Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016

Chicago, Illinois -- Jun Fujita was the first Japanese-American photojournalist, and captured some of the most notable photographs of the Eastland Disaster.

Jun was born in 1888 in a village near Hiroshima, Japan. When he was older, he immigrated from Japan to Canada, where he worked odd jobs to save enough money to move to America. He moved to Chicago where he attended and graduated from Wendell Phillips Academy High School, a four-year predominantly African-American public school whose notable alumni included Nat "King" Cole. Following his high school graduation, he studied mathematics at the Armour Institute of Technology, which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology, with plans to become an engineer.

To help pay his way through college, Fujita took a job as the first and only photojournalist at the Chicago Evening Post, which later became the Chicago Daily News. Fujita was an Issei photojournalist, photographer, silent film actor, and published poet in the United States. He was the first Japanese-American photojournalist. Fujita was the only photographer to document the aftermath of the St. Valentine's Day massacre.

Photographs used with permission by Fujita's grand-nephew, Graham Lee.