Haven’t found any great examples of vintage Nihon Ken in the British Pathe archives yet. The Japanese Chin was well-known and identifiable before the war, but there didn’t seem to be any interest in the XXX Inus until much, much later — basically, beyond the span of the public archive. Still, I was hoping for random glimpses in newsreels or other informational vids.
All I’ve found so far is the following (click each picture for a link to the source clip):
This snub-nosed guy, identified in the preceding title card as “The Waltzer — Champion Chitto from Japan.” Not sure what a ‘Chitto’ is. A Japanese Chin?
Japanese Chin do flash on the screen every once in a while in some of the many early dog fancy videos, along with the Pekingese. This was one of the clearest shots.
[Source: “Toys,” silent reel from 06/11/1930]
A Tosa Inu (?) pulling a boy in a cart, from a clip about a Japanese child “prodigy” painter.
[Source: “The Junior Artist,” sound reel from 10/04/1939]
A happy looking dog and the soldier who is obviously fond of him. Is this a Hokkaido Inu? Or more generically, just a dog from Hokkaido? I wonder if the soldier was in any position to bring that guy home.
[Source: “U.S. Troops Leave Hokkaido”, silent reel from sometime between 1950 and 1959]
The British Pathe archive is extremely well indexed, but even they don’t have labels for everything. One can only imagine what remains to be uncovered in other, uncatalogued international archives… (And I’m assuming it’s fair use to use their screenshots for commentary purposes, as ugly as it is with the giant orange watermark, since I’m linking back to the original source.)