The fashionably flamboyant Mr. Maguro and his neighbor Mr. "Q Ball" had been at enmity with each other almost since they were born. Both of them have completely forgotten why, but that's beside the point.


As sworn enemies, the have kept their swords sharpened, and have lain in wait for each other on many a dark night --- so dark, in fact, that they never could see each other, and went home without tasting blood.


Their wives, who were sisters, tried to reason with their husbands --- but to no avail.


Finally, they informed their husbands --- " NO SEX and NO FOOD until you guys lay down your swords, and settle your old score with a game of GO. they are going at it. However, they keep their swords within easy reach, fully expecting the other to cheat, giving them good reason to chop each others heads off.


1873 "Shajo" (outdoor studio) image by Shinichi Suzuki, using a wet-plate collodian process negative, and contact printing the photo on albumen paper directly under the sun.


PHOTO CREDIT : The Tom Burnett Collection. Used with Permission.

  • kalairk 7y

    These are stunning. Where did you get them? Are they framed in your home?
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 7y

    Most of these are actually two photos mounted -- one to each side -- on old photo-mount album boards from the 1870s. I imagine that they have been pasted down with Japanese rice paste. Each double-sided board is stored in a dark, cool place inside a clear, archival sleeve.

    Due to age and frailty, I would not put any of them on the walls for any "long term" display (the way we keep the pictures of our kids or parents up there).

    Lighting is also a problem in the average home, and the colors that your see (admittedly applied in the 1870s by a slightly SLOPPY colorist) would probably suffer, even if framed behind UV filter glass. I'd rather just take them out and hold them in the hand under subdued incandescent light, and to share them like that "close up" with others who think this old stuff is worth a look.

    However, a short run (say a few of weeks) of Gallery display under controlled lighting conditions would be fine for these prints,

    On another note about light and color. It has been said to me that "you shouldn't even scan these things" for flickr or record keeping. The rare scan of any old photo is perfectly fine.

    2011 NOTE : Although these original SHAJO photos were a part of the OKINAWA SOBA COLLECTION at the time of posting, they have since been acquired by the TOM BURNETT COLLECTION, but remain posted here with his kind permission.
  • Amanda 5y

    My name is Amanda and I'm working as a segment producer for an upcoming tv how about gadgets. I was wanting to feature this photo! If you're interested, email me at and I'll give you more details about the show. Thanks :)
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 5y

    Hi Amanda. Should be no problem. I have sent you an e-mail covering the details. Thanks, and good luck with the Show !
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