A team effort between people in Sydney, Noshiro and Mishima have contributed to the repatriation of yet another photograph to a couple, who just closed their photo studio in 2020, marking history on its 100th year anniversary since opening its doors.

Shoko Ono, a teacher who lives in Sydney, has been contributing to Untitled.Showa’s efforts to find the people to return the original photographs to since earlier this year, and has enlisted the help of many, including senior journalist Yukito Munekata from newspaper, Akita Sakigake Shimpo, which found the grandson of one of people in the photos (and later, many others, including a photo of himself), and Atsuko Sawata, also an educator from Noshiro, who successfully returned one of the photos to a photo studio, Sato Photographic Studio in Noshiro.

Shoko began looking for photographic studios still operating today, who have left the mark, often embossed on the casings that carry the original photographs in the Untitled.Showa collection of found photographs. She wrote to 3 in Shizuoka Prefecture, then Atsuko, followed up Shoko’s letters with a phone call. Daimondo Photographic Studio is not answering their phone. Ishikawa Photographic Studio in Numazu city told her that there had been another photo studio with the same name in town, so were often mistaken by others who were trying to identify the source of some old photographs from the region, and that their photo studio was established more recently. Imai Photographic Studio in Numazu, however answered the phone. Atsuko spoke with Mrs Kayo Imai, who sounded very friendly and was interested in seeing the photograph concerned (photo no 306).

I remembered that Rurian, aka Ruriko Kinoshita, my cousin lives in Mishima, which is not far away from Numazu, so I beckoned Rurian to join our team, and she said yes, immediately, much in the same way she used to answer my beckoning to play with me as a child. Rurian visited the former Imai Photographic Studio, now displaying Mrs Imai’s handmade tsurushibina or hanging dolls made from scrap pieces of kimono material.

Rurian sent me some photos, and wrote:

“I brought the photo to them.

They looked at it for a while with great nostalgia.

The birdcage in the photo was a small item of decorative prop that they used often in those days.

Although they didn’t know who the boys in the photo were, they were still very emotional and moved.

They were happy to see that the photos they took here (in Numazu) have crossed the sea, and was surprised to see it back again.

They send their sincere thanks and best regards to us in Sydney.

Daikichi, the dog, was also very good and cute.”

Daikichi means the greatest of fortune in Japanese.

This indeed is a collective good will project. Thank you to all!

Former Imai Photographic Studio, Numazu.沼津の旧イマイ写真館さん。Photo by Ruri Kinoshita 写真、木下瑠璃

Former Imai Photographic Studio, Numazu.沼津の旧イマイ写真館さん。Photo by Ruri Kinoshita 写真、木下瑠璃

Former Imai Photographic Studio, Numazu.沼津の旧イマイ写真館さん。Photo by Ruri Kinoshita 写真、木下瑠璃

Tsurushibina made by Mrs Imai. 奥様の創られた、つるしびな Photo by Ruri Kinoshita 写真、木下瑠璃

Daikichi, the pet dog. ペット犬、大吉君。Photo by Ruri Kinoshita 写真、木下瑠璃

沼津市に長い歴史を持つイマイ写真館さんが2020年に創業100年目を機に閉館しました。そのイマイ写真館さんに、シドニー、能代、三島のチームワークで、また新たな写真の送還に貢献することができました。

既に一年以上も色々な形で写真内容の調査や人探しのお手伝いをして頂いている、シドニー在住の大野唱子先生のお陰で、秋田に住む返還対象者を探し出してくださった秋田魁新報の棟方幸人記者やその後、能代の佐藤写真館に写真を返還してくださった能代市に住む、大野先生のお友達の澤田敦子さんなどのご協力を得ることになりました。

大野先生は、Untitled.Showaの写真の中でも、写真館で撮影されたものをエンボスマークなどを調査し、現在も営業している写真館を追跡。まずは静岡県内と思われる、3軒に手紙を書き、その後、能代に住む敦子さんが電話をかけてくれました。今のところ、大門写真館さんには電話が通じていません。沼津市の石川写真館さんは、同名の写真館があったため、古い写真の出所を探すのによく間違われると教えてくれました。閉館されたばかりの沼津のイマイ写真館さんは奥さまが電話口に出てくださったそうで、とてもご親切に、写真(写真番号306)を見てくださるとおっしゃてくださりました。

そこで、ふと、いとこのルリアン(木下瑠璃子)が沼津から近い三島に住んでいることを思い出し、プロジェクトに参加しないかと、誘うと、子供の頃よく一緒に遊んでくれたように、即答でOKしてくれました。ルリアンが訪れた旧イマイ写真館には、今井夫人が着物の端切れで創られた吊るし雛が店頭に並んでいたそうです。

今井さんの写真と共に送られて来た、ルリアンからのメールは:

『写真をお持ちしたら

とても懐かしがってしばらく眺めていました。

あの写真の鳥籠はあの頃

よく使用していた小物のようで感無量な感じでしたよ〜。

ただ写真の男の子はどなたかわかりかねるようでした。

ここで撮影した写真が海を渡って年月が過ぎ

さらにまた帰ってきたことにもびっくりしてました。

金森さんにもありがとう、そして

よろしくお伝えくださいと仰ってました。

犬の大吉くんもとても良い子で可愛かった。』

日本語で大吉とは偉大な幸運を語ります。

皆様、ありがとうございました!

***

−2021年12月、金森マユ投函
−Posted by Mayu Kanamori, December 2021

 

 

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