View Full Version : Dual Topic: Bruce Lee's Library/Black & White footage

8th July 2000, 05:01

As mentioned elsewhere I watched the production of "The Martial Arts,The Real Story" and also the "Bruce Lee Story" which preceded it.

In the "Bruce" production it made note of the fact that he had a library of 2500 volumes of reference material. Does anyone know if this bibliography is listed or posted anywhere?

Secondly, the production Mr. Svinth was associated with used great black and white film/video/moving pictures of Chinese Boxers, Judo matches and Donn Draeger. Does anyone know if any of this material is in the public domain?


Joseph Svinth
13th July 2000, 11:15
The best article about Bruce Lee ever written is David Halpern's chapter in David Brewster and David M. Buerge, editors "Washingtonians" (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1989); see also the chapter on Ruby Chow, who was Lee's employer in Seattle.

You would have to check with Lee's widow for whereabouts and a list of the collection.

The best bibliography currently in print for the era that Lee was collecting is the one in the back of Corcoran and Farkas 1988. Also see Robert W. Smith's out-of-print "A Complete Guide to Judo," 1958.

The Donn Draeger footage was an NHK production from the 1960s, and NHK still owns copyright. The ca. 1925 judo film was done by the Kodokan, and was from Henri Plee. The 1948 judo film was done by the Budokwai in London. The ca. 1955 Kodokan film featuring Ishikawa, etc., was done by the Kodokan. These films and the Chinese boxer films were from the personal collection of Robert W. Smith.

Some commercial outfit was asking to publish those Chinese boxing films awhile back but then backed out. So, to answer the question, so as far as I know none of those films are commercially available except on the TLC show.

The best public domain historic judo pictures of which I am aware are at the National Archives. The URL is http://www.nara.gov/nara/nail.html . The keyword is "judo". Various historical societies and museums also have some, but there you have to pay permissions.

14th July 2000, 01:48
Greetings Joe,

As usual I tip my hat to you. If I knew you would have been the lone responder, I would have e-mailed you privately. I was hoping someone could answer the Bruce Lee library question, and I figured you would have the answer to the film question.

Thanks again,

J Hudson
14th July 2000, 23:47
This is my first post to any of these forumn. Let me say first of all that I greatly appreciate Mr. Svinth's depth of research. As a follow up to Mr. Svinth's post about the National Archives, I returned to the NARA database and searched for judo photographs. Many of the national archives photos pertaining to judo are from "Relocation Centers". I take this to mean the internment camps during WWII. I also did a search in the archives for wrestling photos and found a number of Sumo photographs from "relocation centers". Years ago I read an interview with Mr. Koga,(I forget his first name) the Japanese-American police officer from LA who developed a system of police techniques. I'm hesitant to call his system Koga-ryu because of its relationship with Ninjitsu, but I think that it is actually called that. Mr. Koga studied judo as a youth and talked about practicing judo in an internmant camp. I've long thought that a history of martial arts in these camps would be a valuable document. Does anyone know of an article(s) that addresses this subject?

J Hudson

Joseph Svinth
22nd July 2000, 06:36
At the NARA site also try keywords such as "boxing", "wrestling," "karate," etc. -- there is some grand stuff there, including boxes of material relating to the SCAP attitudes toward swords. The Library of Congress site also has films available, to include some judo training films the USAF commissioned during the 1950s.

The term "relocation center" is a troublesome one, because it is an official US government euphemism for a class of concentration camp. "Concentration camp" is equally problematical because since WWII the Jews and Gypsies have taken it for their own. (The Gulag is somewhat different in principle.) Internment camp meanwhile refers to places run by the Border Patrol in accordance with the Geneva Convention rather than places where citizens and non-troublesome resident aliens were forcibly relocated. And incarceration refers to what happened to draft and curfew resisters. And let's not forget Canada, which called its camps "Inland Housing Centres."

This gets confusing fast, doesn't it?

The best general introduction to the US camps is "Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites" by Jeffery J. Burton, Mary M. Farrell, Florence B. Lord and Richard W. Lord (Western Archaeological and Conservation Center, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, Publications in Anthropology 74, 1999). You can obtain a copy by writing the National Park Service, 1415 North Sixth Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85705. The book is free but they ask for donations, so send some money, okay?

Some of the sumo pictures in the NARA collection were taken at the time of Marvin Opler's fieldwork reported in Opler, "A 'Sumo' Tournament at Tule Lake Center," American Anthropologist, 47 (Jan 1945), 134-139. For background to pre-WWII sumo in California and Hawaii, see "More than a Game," edited by Brian Niiya (Japanese American National Museum, 2000) and the catalog for the sumo exhibition the museum did a couple years ago. For Washington and Oregon, see Joseph Svinth, "A Celebration of Tradition and Community: Sumo in the Pacific Northwest, 1905-1943," Columbia: The Magazine of Pacific Northwest History, 13:2 (Summer 1999), 7-14. For British Columbia, check with the Cumberland Museum, I think it is, which has some photos from ca. 1915. If you read Japanese, also check with the Japanese Canadian National Museum and Archives Society in Vancouver, which has all kinds of recollections from Issei written in Japanese.

For artwork and other descriptions of sumo at Camp Harmony (otherwise known as the Puyallup Fairground; as at Santa Anita, Portland, and Vancouver BC, the Nikkei were kept in horse stalls)in 1942, visit http://www.lib.washington.edu/exhibits/harmony/Newsletter/1-10.html 20 Jun 1999.

There is also passing reference to judo at Manzanar in the summer of 1944 in the Budokwai Quarterly Bulletin of August 1945, I think it is; that is where the training for the Jimmy Cagney film "Blood on the Sun" took place, and an Irishman living in LA describes a bit.

However, the main source document for judo, boxing, wrestling, etc., in the US camps is going to be the camp newspapers, most of which are available on microfilm. I know the Japanese American National Museum and Tacoma Public Library have reasonably complete sets, and surely you can get the reels via interlibrary loan, too. After that you'd have to start writing people. Responses are pretty good as long as you stick to the topic of sport; if you start getting into politics the silence can be deafening, as some judoka were draft resisters and some volunteered for the 442, and to this day the two groups are barely civil to one another in conversation.

For judo in Canada before and during WWII, Glynn Leyshon's "Judoka" (Gloucester, Ontario: Judo Canada, 1998),represents a good starting point. There was also kendo done at POW Camp 101 in Angler, Ontario. (Although there was never anyplace officially named Angler in Ontario, there was a railway station of that name located just north of Lake Superior, at approximately 48 degrees 46 minutes latitude, 86 degrees 25 minutes longitude. The station existed as a post office during the early 1900s, so the name remained in local use for many years afterward. E-mail from Heather Ross, Natural Resources, Canada, 27 Jul 1999.) During World War II POW Camp 101 was built to house German prisoners of war. Says Canadian POW historian David Carter, ”When you locate Marathon just to the north west of Pukaskwa National Park you should be able to find a small village of Heron Bay. The latter was the closest point to Angler.” (E-mail dated 2 Jul 1999). When the Germans started tunneling out in early 1942, they were replaced with Japanese Canadian dissidents, most of whom had been arrested for protesting family separations. For artifacts and recollections of the Angler kendo club, see JCNMAS images 94/82.05 MS2, 94/82.10 MS2, and 96/166.014a-c. The first is in English, the second are artifacts, and the third is an oral history in Japanese made by Masanobu Kawahira. The JCNMAS also has a photo of a kendo club in Kaslo, BC that was taken in 1944; the image is 94/86002 P21. For German images of Ontario camps, see the Thunder Bay Historical Museum URL http://www.tbaytel.net/tbhms/krak.htm .

A book describing the Japanese Canadian experience -- most of the men were locked up for the crime of wanting to be with their families; the Canadians insisted on separating all men 18 and older from their wives and children -- see Robert K. Okazaki, "The Nisei Mass Evacuation Group and P.O.W. Camp ’101’Angler, Ontario" (Scarsborough, Ontario: Markaham Litho, Ltd., 1996.

Drop me a separate e-mail if you would like additional suggestions in these areas.