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Japanese photograph album


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

From 1868 to 1912, Japan was ruled by Emperor Mutsuhito, who was known as the Meiji Emperor. During this period of time (the Meiji Era), the country experienced significant industrialization and modernization, which in turn transformed the economic and social environments. According to Asia for Educators, "the most important feature of the Meiji period was Japan's struggle for recognition of its considerable achievement and for equality with Western nations," which may have resulted in efforts by the country to educate Western peoples about Japanese culture and traditions.


Asia for Educators, Columbia University: The Meiji Restoration and Modernization (, accessed 2022 October 11

This photograph album contains images documenting Japanese culture and tradition, probably during the latter half of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). Many of these photographs are captioned in English and appear to be educational. The images show landscapes, villages, buildings, and tourist attractions; people working; religious temples; and people performing day-to-day tasks. All the photographs appear quite formal and were almost certainly taken by a professional.

The forty-eight photographs are contained within a double-sided accordion fold album with decorated lacquer covers, which displays Kinko Sennin riding his carp (inlay for his head is missing) on the front and four insects on the back. The photographs are 8 x 10.5 inches and are hand-colored albumen prints. Many contain a typed caption in English that was taped to the album; however, a few contain captions in English that were clearly titled in the negative. The font of the typed caption is not consistent. Only four of the photographs are unidentified.

Titles of the photographs listed in the finding aid were taken directly from captions of the photographs in the album. Researchers should note that some spellings of cities are not the modern English spellings (for example, in the album: Tokio rather than Tokyo).

Sold by Boston Book Company, 2018.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2022 October 11
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Unidentified landscape.
Daibutsu, bronze image at Kamakura (numbered 1020).
View of Honmoku, Bathing Place near Yokohama.
Cutting Rice.
Selling Flowers.
Basket Seller.
Kago Travellling Chair.
Japanese Marriage.
Cathedral Tonosawa.
Fujiyama from Hakone Village (numbered 993).
Chiusenji Lake, at Nikko (numbered 800).
Horikiri, Iris Flower Gardent at Tokio.
Kotohira, Shinto Temple at Tokio.
View of Stone-Steps front Iyeyasu Tomb in Nikko (numbered 775).
Spinning Cotton.
The Mikado's Garden (Fukiage) at Tokio.
View of the Rapids at Kioto.
Castle of Kioto (numbered 1328).
Unidentified man [possibly a scholar].
View of Yokohama (numbered F 27).
View of Yokohama (numbered 510).
Unidentified group of four people.
Unidentified people working in the snow.
Tokaido (numbered 998).
Enoshim[a] (numbered 1009).
Preparing Dinner (numbered 155).
Hair Dressing.
Japanese Nobel and General Officer (includes portraits of the Empress, Emperor, and other officials).
100 Steps at Yokohama.
View of Nikko Road Imaichi (numbered 751).
Tomb of the 47 Ronin who committed Suicide all at the same time, at Sengakugi, Takanawa, Tokio (numbered 657).
Basket Maker.
Asakusa Temple at Tokio.
View of Yenoshima.
Musical instruments.
Japanese Girls Writing, Reading, and Sewing.
View of Hakone Lake.
Jikwan Waterfall, at Nikko.
View Ojigoku, on Great Boiling Springs, Hakone.
Cherry Flower, Uyeno, Tokio.
The Mikado's Garden (Fukiage) at Tokio.
Cherry Flower Street, Mukojima at Tokio.
Kameido Temple at Tokio.
View of Tokio Castle.
View of Tokio Castle Wall and Lotus Flower.
Weaving Silk.
Yomei Mon (Great Gate), at Nikko.

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