Since we opened our shopfront exhibition along the street of Daiei Shopping Street in Uzumasa, Kyoto, 3 weeks had gone by without any positive identifications of the people in the found photographs. It is not that the exhibition had no effect as to community participation. We had TV and newspaper articles with photographs, covering the exhibition in over 50 regional and national newspapers, as well as mistaken identities, including emails to a son of a former GHQ personnel in Hawaii, mistaken as one of people the photographs, and a phone call from an elderly man, sounding very definite that it was him in the photos (when we rang him back, a younger man answered the phone to say it was a mistake).

I had read somewhere that people almost never come forward to claim their image in found photos, although many people digitise them and place them on the internet – many, with much more prominence than Untitled.Showa. Oh well, our efforts in Kyoto wasn’t just about finding people in the photographs…. was what I was thinking, when we received a message, letting us know that one of  owners of a local business, Yoshikawa Construction Company,  thought that one of the women in the photograph exhibited at Bakery Welz (Photo no 242)could be a that of a famous local identity, Mrs Kazuko Yamamoto, who used to run a restaurant, Tsutaya on Daiei Shopping street, and decided to contact her son, who was now living in Nagano Prefecture.

Akihiko Yamamoto san had a look at the photos on the website, and confirmed that the photo displayed at the Bakery was indeed his mother, and in the same photo, was also his aunt, Kiyoko Taniguchi. He also saw more photos with his aunt in the collection on our website.

A few days later, a woman appeared at Kinema Kitchen, a restaurant in Daiei Shopping Street, which acted as our exhibition hub. She announced herself as Yamamoto san’s cousin. She was very excited, reached out, touched the exhibit, and said that she was very happy to see her aunts looking young, happy and cute.

This lead to returning 15 of the photographs from the collection.

Yamamoto san, who runs a dog friendly accommodation lodge, Haru no Niwa (Garden of Spring) in the northern Alps region of Nagano Prefecture, near Hakuba, a popular ski resort for Australians, received the photos in the post on 6 November. On the following day, they were placed on the alter in time for a Buddhist ceremony for his aunt’s 3rd year anniversary of passing – an important day marked in the Buddhist calendar. He sent us these photos to Hiroyo from our Osaka team, and joined us on Zoom during our Journey and Outcomes event at 107 Projects as part of Head On Photo Festival.

These connections are sacred. I do hope to visit the Garden of Spring one day to meet Yamamoto san. I hope you consider staying in their lodge!

Yamamoto san with the original photographs. 写真の原本と山本さん。

Kazuko Yamamoto (left) and Kiyoko Taniguchi (right) with the original photograph in the middle. Ms Taniguchi is on the far right and Ms Yamamoto is second from the right. 山本和子さん(左)と谷口清子さん(右)。写真原本(真ん中)、最右が谷口さん、隣、右から2番目が山本さん。

Exhibit at Bakery Weltz ベルツベーカリーの展示 Photo by Kyounosuke Natori 写真、名取響海乃助







-Posted by Mayu Kanamori Dec 2021



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