Souvenir of Hiroshima

“In this post I want to talk about one of my several hobbies”, writes lebedeff in his recently launched blog entitled “I am no photographer, this is just my hobby” and in which he presents his beautiful and sensitive portraits made in vintage style, but free from any archaizing mannerism. “I have been collecting old cameras for many years, and occasionally it happens that I receive the camera ordered via internet together with the last film left in it. Sometimes they only forget to take it out, but sometimes they do not have time for it, because of the owner’s death, a theft or other unexpected troubles. I develop these films.”

“This package was sent from Hiroshima. The seller, whom I asked, had no idea what this film is and whom it represents. It belonged probably to a previous owner of the house they bought, they found it among the belongings left there. The details point to the first half of the 1940’s, the time of the war. The number 3 written on the paper is maybe 1943. If you know Japanese, I would be grateful for a translation.” Me, who only read kanji on the basis of Chinese, and even that probably differently from how Japanese people read it, can only read the name: perhaps Kato Masaharu. If you know more, please write about it.

“The central figure of these photos is this young man who apparently came home to visit his relatives and to relax a bit. Here he is, in a kamikaze pilot suit and with a sword in the hand.”

“Here he is again in the middle, at the table, among local relatives and acquaintances.”

“Sake (the bottle is already laying on the earth), miso and the rest of festive delicacies. Apparently it was him to stand up and to shoot the next picture with timing.”

“In kimono with a young relative or his own son in the yard.”

“This can be perhaps the mother or grandmother of our hero.”

“Some automobile repair shop with friends and colleagues, in the 1940’s as it can be seen from the vehicles.”

“In all this there is something very sad and mysterious. These pictures have been waiting for more than fifty years for a person to have a look at them. The people represented on them are already all dead, and none of them has ever seen any of these photos.”

7 comentarios:

Effe dijo...

really touching.
As Aladdin's lamp, he rubbed the camera and a story came out.
More than a kamikaze, the young man seems to be a peaceful schoolteacher, and really he teaches us something, today.

Satoko dijo...

Wow... this is amazing. I don't think the number 3 is for the year 1943 since they didn't really use the Gregorian calender back then. Masaharu Kato sounds right... the first name could be read differently but I'd bet on Masaharu. The other printed words say roughly: Photographs create memories that can NEVER be bought even if you invest thousands or millions of yen years later. Pretty fascinating.

Anónimo dijo...

It's funny how the message on the receipt (what Satoko translated is just correct) just proven itself. Love the design too.

The name also could read "Seiji Kato" instead of "Masaharu". Both are popular name.

The things in line frame says (top left - bottom right), development, reprint, enlarge, duplicate, total balance and paid.

Blacked out line just says "one each copy".

25/8 is probably August 25 - wonder what year.

Thanks for nice post.

Studiolum dijo...

Thanks a lot for all the precious information! I will forward them to the Russian collector.

The Japanese photo developer did not even know how true the slogan he created would prove! That is really very fitting to this marvelous finding.

In the meantime in the original Russian comments two experts of WWII uniforms have established that the pilot’s uniform must not be earlier than 1942, perhaps 1943.

And Hungarian reader Komaváry living in Japan discovered that the castle represented in the last two shots is Hirosaki Castle in the north.

vintagemint dijo...

What a wonderful discovery!

Also, my mother who is a Japanese native says that these photos should probably be given to (or at least notified) the Hiroshima History Museum; I am sure someone remembers who these people are.

@Satoko -- Actually the Japanese have been using the Gregorian calendar since 1/01/1873.

vintagemint dijo...

Also, the castle in the photo is the Hirosaki castle which is in Aomori. There is a possibility that the photographer and those people in the photo were in Aomori. Or he was in the military troop that was stationed in Hirosaki, Aomori.

I really don't think the man in the photo was a Kamikaze pilot, because he looks to be in his late 20s or early 30s, married (?) with a child. Almost 90% of those pilots were really young, ages 13 to 24, and usually not married.

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you very much, vintagemint! Forwarding a copy of the photos to the Hiroshima History Museum is a great idea. I will tell it to the Russian collector.

He has also recognized in the comments that it was perhaps too premature (though attractive) to call the person a “kamikaze-pilot”, not only because of the arguments pointed out by you, but also because kamikazes apparently belonged to a later stage of the war.