Biographical Note

Historical Background

Scope and Content

Digital Content

Physical/Technical Access

Restrictions on Access

Restrictions on Use

Acquisition Info

Processing Info

Inventory   [ + ]

Subject Terms


Guide to the Lt. John T. Alderson Collection of Japan Photographs



PH Collection No.: 1101
Creator: Alderson, John T. , collector
Title: Lt. John T. Alderson collection of Japan photographs
Date Span: circa 1890's
Quantity: 40 photographic prints (1 box) : hand colored ; sizes vary
Location: Entire collection available on digital site
KV903 (1 box)
Languages: Collection materials are in English.
View of French Consulate, Yokohama. K. Kimbei, circa 1890's.




Biographical Note

Lt. John T. Alderson fought in the Spanish-American War, and brought back these photographs upon his return to the US.

This collection of photographs of Japan were probably made by the well known photographer Kusakabe Kimbei (1841-1934). Kimbei worked as a photographer until about 1913. He first worked as a photographic colorist and assistant to Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried before he opened his own studio in 1881 in Yokohama, in the Bentendori quarter, and operated in the Honmachi quarter from 1889. He later also opened a branch of his studio in Tokyo in the Ginza quarter. His clientele were mostly foreign residents and visitors, thus his photographs tend to be of Japanese scenery and Japanese people doing activities that would appear exotic to foreigners.

Historical Background

During the Meiji Period in Japan (1868-1912), foreign tourists were allowed to travel to the country for the first time in recent history. Many photographers set up studios to cater to foreign tourists, and the Japanese interest in photography expanded. Photographs and postcards became very popular souvenirs for locals as well as tourists. In addition, some photos and postcards were exported to other countries as these photographs could emphasize the exotic and feudal aspects of Japan, despite the fact that Japan was becoming increasingly westernized.

In 1868, at the beginning of the Meiji Period, the capitol of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. Kyoto began to modernize around the historical sites that had been already been built. The city continues to be a modern city with modern transport, ancient temples, gardens and palaces.

In 1870, the number of professional photographers in Japan had exceeded 100, and this number continued to grow with each passing year. By the 1890s, it was a very popular trend to hand-color photographs.

Scope and Content

The photographs include scenes of Nagasaki, Tokyo, Yokohama (including the "Foreign Settlement in Yokohama"), and greater Japan. The photograph of the French consulate in Yokohama is stamped "K. Kimbei, Photographer, Yokohama."

Digital Content

View the digital version of the collection

Physical/Technical Access

All photographs are hand colored with the exception of item 33.

Restrictions on Access

Access to original photographs restricted. Entire collection is available on digital site. Permission from the Curator must be obtained to view the originals. Contact Special Collections for additional information.

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions might exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact the repository for details.

Acquisition Info

Donor: Mary Ruth Hardy, December 19, 2011.

Processing Info

Processed by Melody Hauf, 2012; processing completed in 2012


Inventory

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Nagasaki
1/11View of a three masted sail boat docked at the Nagasaki Harbor   View imagecirca 1890's
2A woman carrying a child next to two men on the New Road Himitoge at Nagasaki   View imagecirca 1890's
3View from beach of boats and coastal buildings at Inasa, Nagasaki   View imagecirca 1890's
4A man pulling children in jinrikisha (rickshaw) on a road in front of large houses at (possibly the Inasa) Bluff, Nagasaki   View imagecirca 1890's
5A Christian graveyard with a man standing at the doorway outside of a mausoleum and near three other Christian burial markers at Inasa, Nagasaki   View imagecirca 1890's
6A man standing at the doorway outside Kofukuji Buddist Temple, Nagasaki   View imagecirca 1890's
Kofukuji Buddist Temple, Nagasaki is Japan's first and oldest remaining Chinese temple of the Obaku sect
7View of a bridge and buildings near the Naksima (probably Nakashima) tea house, Nagasaki   View imagecirca 1890's
8People carrying baskets and walking on a road next to cultivated fields in the Nagasaki region near Mogi   View imagecirca 1890's
9View looking down the hillside at the people carrying baskets and walking up a road next to cultivated fields (at possibly the Nagasaki region, near Mogi)   View imagecirca 1890's

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Yokohama
1/210Snow scene with people walking outside the town hall, with clock tower (built in 1874), and down the main shopping street (the motomachi district) in Yokohama with the post office in the right foreground   View imagecirca 1890's
11City street scene with people walking, jinrikishas (rickshaws), and horse drawn carts outside of post office with the clock tower of the town hall on left in the distance, Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's
12City street view of rickshaws and people outside the dispensary, printer, tailor, tobacconist, and Swiss watches shops in the foreign settlement, Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's
13People and buildings at the base of to the 100 steps and cliff side, Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's
14View of boats on a canal and near a bridge leading to the French consulate, Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's

Photographer: K. Kimbei, Photographer, Yokohama, Japan.

The French consulate was destroyed by the 1923 Kant earthquake and only ruins of this building exist today. It destroyed much of Tokyo and Yokohama, and shifted the Great Budda.
15Two men pulling a woman and girl in jinrikisha (rickshaw) on a dirt road next to the cliff side at (Negishi) Mississippi Bay near Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's
16Rural view of farms on coastal edge near the foreign settlement at (Negishi) Mississippi Bay, Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's
17View looking down and across a bridge to surrounding city and the railway station, Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's
18Coastal view of two men outside a tea house, (probably at Yokohama)   View imagecirca 1890's

Original title half torn off: Honmo..., Yokohama
19A man fishing from boat near buildings along the Yokohama Harbor edge at Bund, Yokohama   View imagecirca 1890's

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Tokio [Tokyo]
1/320View of lotus flower filled moat outside the Imperial palace wall, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's

Original caption reads: Tokio Castle Wall & Lotus Pond
21View looking over boats on a canal, with a bridge on left, and towards the Shinbashi railway station, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's
22City street scene of people, jinrikishas (rickshaws), and horse drawn street car on the tree lined Main street, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's
23View across a waterway lined with boats and looking to the Tsukiji foreign settlement, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's
24View across a waterway to the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's
25People standing under the Shinto Torii Gate at the steps leading to the entrance of Uyeno Park, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's
The Torii gate religious symbol, marks the entrance to sacred space and represents the transition between the finite world and the infinite world of the gods.
26View looking over the canal to the Mikado palace (Nijubashi) bridge, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's
Original caption reads: Mikado Palace Brigde [sic] Tokio
27People standing along a blossoming cherry tree path next to the water at Mukojima, Tokyo   View imagecirca 1890's

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Other locations in Japan
1/528View over a waterway with small boats docked at harbor edge next to a large elaborate unidentified western architecture style three story brick building, (probably in Yokohama or Tokyo)   View imagecirca 1890's
29View of the five-arched wooden Kintai bridge, Suo province   View imagecirca 1890's
30View up to the bronze cast (Great Buddha) Daibutsu at Kamakura   View imagecirca 1890's
1/631People in boats on a river and near a wooden bridge with Mt. Fuji in the background   View imagecirca 1890's
Original title half torn off: Fuji from Iwa...
32People on the beach leading to Enoshima Island   View imagecirca 1890's
1/533View of men on the steps and outside of (possibly the Temple Myoshinji), Inasa   View imagecirca 1890's
This photograph is not colored.

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Unidentified Locations
1/634Three men on a path traveling through a giant bamboo garden.   View imagecirca 1890's
35Two men, one standing on the steps in traditional Japanese clothing and the other wearing a european style suit and sitting, at a hillside garden featuring a small waterfall   View imagecirca 1890's
36View of a stone edged constructed waterway and buildings, (possibly Tokyo)   View imagecirca 1890's
Written on back: Number "647"
37A small group of people looking down at rustic rural wood buildings and valley floor at the base of a mountain   View imagecirca 1890's
1/438Portrait of a geisha and a vegetable peddler with baskets of root vegetables   View imagecirca 1890's
39Five seated geishas at a meal with one pouring sake   View imagecirca 1890's
40View of three men paused on the road while pulling geishas seated in jinrikishas (rickshaws)   View imagecirca 1890's

Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Alderson, John T.--Photographs.
Last modified: June 24, 2013
Contact Us