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TWO MAIKO SEPARATED BY AN EARTHQUAKE in OLD JAPAN | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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TWO MAIKO SEPARATED BY AN EARTHQUAKE in OLD JAPAN

View number S 49 from Enami's 3-D Catalog.

 

Here we have two old lantern slides from Japan made for North American tourists. If they were made for European tourists, the slides would be square, and not rectangular as seen here.

 

They are both made by T. Enami from his stereoview negative usually titled MEETING AT THE GATE, and show two Japanese Girls in Kimono at the Entrance to an INN (Ryokan) near the Genkyu-en Gardens in HIKONE (玄宮園)

 

The size of each slide is 3 1/4 inches by 4 inches. The image field is much smaller.

 

Both were hand made in the Yokohama studio of T. ENAMI.

 

The TOP image was shot during the last years of the 19th Century as a STEREOVIEW : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2328678714/in/set-7215...

 

At that link you can read about (and appreciate) the skill required to color such a small-format image to view correctly in 3-D. You can also free view it in 3-D.

 

The TOP lantern slide was printed from one half of that stereoview negative, and given an S number indicating the image source was Stereoview.

 

You will also note the torn and twisted black paper mask under the glass, see along the bottom margin of the image.

 

The TOP image was also printed continuously from the time it was photographed, until the negative was destroyed (along with Enami's studio) in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 that leveled much of Tokyo and Yokohama.

 

For a couple of years, Enami worked out of a temporary studio thrown together on the ashes of Benten Street, finally moving into his last location at No. 29 BENTEN DORI sometime between the years 1926 and 1928. He passed away in early 1929, leaving the studio to his first son, Tamotsu.

 

The BOTTOM slide was probably done while Enami was still alive during his few last years at the new studio. However, unlike the TOP image, the bottom one is a copy-view that Enami had to make from a pre-earthquake image found outside the zone of destruction.

 

With all of his stereoview negative archive gone (along with his catalog numbers) the old numbering system was meaningless. Instead, Enami created a new catalog numbering system for all of his "resurrected" and new images --- the new number for the former half-stereoview image seen on the BOTTOM slide.

 

After T. ENAMI passed away, his son TAMOTSU seems to have quit the practice of appying captions and numbers to the slides --- instead, issuing them with only the T. ENAMI Studio address label.

 

T. ENAMI never stood for TAMOTSU ENAMI. The photographer's T is believed to have stood for TOSHI. His son just enjoyed the benefit of sharing the first name initial, and never had to change the studio sign or business letterhead !!!

 

Further, "T. ENAMI" was not photographer T. ENAMI's real name !

 

Huh ???

 

T. Enami's real name was NOBUKUNI ENAMI --- or, as the Japanese would say it (putting the family name first) ENAMI NOBUKUNI, and writing it like this : 江南 信國

 

He only used T. ENAMI as his "Trade Name" or "Artist Name" or "Pen Name" --- whatever you care to call it. Some Japanese went through as many as seven name changes during their lives. We are lucky Enami only used two. .....otherwise, it would have been HELL to have figured out who he was, or to have tracked down his descendants.

 

Can you imagine trying to connect MARK TWAIN to SAMUEL CLEMENS if you had no other data to go on ? Same damn thing !!!

 

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THE PHOTO ITSELF

 

If you compare the two images carefully, you will see that the color varies in many places --- especially in the color schemes of KIMONO of the two Maiko bowing at the gate.

 

However --- amazingly enough --- the "Flying Birds" OBI of the nearer Maiko was colored almost perfectly to match the pre-quake image the colorists were using as a guide. Why the color changes in KIMONO, and not the OBI ?

 

Hmmmmm. Perhaps the ladies (?) who were doing the coloring thought that the old color scheme of the top slide was "out of style", and attempted to bring it up-to-date with a more popular mix and match of hues. Who knows. But one think is for sure, they liked the old Obi just the way it was.

 

Not to overwhelm you, but here's another versions of the same slide, in a closer crop made for a European tourist. Notice the blue-to-pink, top-to-bottom reversed color transition of the Maiko's Kimono on the right, compared with that of the top slide here : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/3285794855/

 

On my photostream, this brings the total versions of the above T. ENAMI photograph to FOUR --- a stereoview and three lantern slides. And even the lantern slides are of two different formats --- North American and European. Thus, the prolific photographic artistry of Enami serves not only to give us "Pretty Pictures" of the past, but also a technical insight into the business side of these things 100 years ago.

 

For an off-hand "conversation" between a Okinawa_Soba and a "Country Bumpkin" on the subject of the "color accuracy" of these old slides, see the two comments here : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/3297978149/#comment721...

  

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All of my posted ENAMI sets are here : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/collections/7215761388...

 

For more on Enami himself see : www.t-enami.com/

 

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Uploaded on March 19, 2009