John F. Kennedy is framed by the heads of seven TV cameramen. His hands are cupped in a some kind of explanatory gesture, but his mouth is closed. Perhaps he’s just finished saying something about his chances in the 1960 election, which is just five days away.

The photograph, which shows Kennedy during one of the several successful TV appearances that historians now say nudged him ahead of his rival Richard Nixon in the knife-edge 1960 election, was recently added to the collection of Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. How it got there is a long and convoluted story — a story that involves a U.S. Navy-issue Kodak Medalist 11 camera, a filing cabinet in Saitama and an American photographer and occasional Japan Times contributor who has resided in Japan for the past 30 years.

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