Tai Sing Loo

Visual Artist

1886 – 1971


Who was Tai Sing Loo?

Tai Sing Loo was a photographer of Pearl Harbor and many sporting events in Hawaii.

From 1919 until his retirement in 1947, he served as an official Navy photographer. In that capacity, he photographed the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and the battleships, and recorded VIP visits and recreational events. He also photographed for the Interisland Steamship Company and was an accomplished landscape photographer. Some of his well-known photographs include many of Duke Kahanamoku, Pearl Harbor before and after the bombing, celebrities and presidential visits to Hawaii. In 1984, the US Navy honored Tai Sing Loo with a calendar chronicling his career. Tai Sing Loo also helped to break the Japanese Codes that were put into false newspaper advertisements that detailed when the attack would occur and the formations of the planes for the attack.

He was married to Florence Loo and had two sons and two daughters; Franklin Ting Fai Loo, Robert Ting Ho Loo, Florence Loo, and Evelyn Loo.

Tai Sing's father, Sam Choy Loo, almost contracted yellow fever just before he arrived in Hawaii in the 1880s on a ship called the Cassandra. The Loo family came from Kwangtung, China, Chung Shan. Sam Choy Loo was a Gold Leaf Sign Painter. Tai Sing had two brothers; Tai Chung, Hoon, three sisters. Sisters married into the Choy family, Young/Lum family. One daughter never married and is buried in a plot at the Pauoa Chinese Cemetery. Parents and brothers are buried in Manoa Chinese Cemetery. Tai Sing grew up in Honolulu in what is now Foster Gardens. The first listing of the Loo family was in 1908 in the Honolulu city directory and the 1910 Census. Tai Sing's mother used to pray for people at Kwan Yin Temple on Vineyard Boulevard and River Street. The only Christian of the Loo family, the others practiced Daoism and Buddhism and honored Kwan Yin. Tai Sing lived on the US mainland in Twentynine Palms, California. Moved to Manoa Marquis Lane. Tai Sing and Hoon were isolated from the rest of the Loo family due to practicing Christianity and his father's traditional ways. Hoon was disowned from the family because he married a Hawaiian woman.

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United States of America
  • United States of America

on July 23, 2013


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