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!
−Posted by Mayu Kanamori, December 2021