Some years ago, Takahashi Shinichi discovered an album by Kanamaru Matashiro in the Yokohama Archives of History. It has proved to be a veritable 'Rosetta Stone' in that many previously unidentified photographs can now be matched with this studio. The studio was prolific. Over recent weeks and months, I have been reviewing and correcting numerous attributions. It's taken some 40 years, but the picture is much clearer. I encourage anyone with numbers that do not appear (or perhaps you have some corrections to suggest) to send in the details so they may be added. Contributing in this way would help collectors, researchers and photo historians.
A word of warning. Just because a photograph is listed below and attributed to a particular studio does not always mean that the studio in question created the image. Over the years, I have realised that the vast majority of studios had little hesitation in including the works of other studios in their portfolios. This practice might have been a simple case of geographical gap-filling if customer demand could not be satisfied with a studio's existing holdings. After all, it would have been a time-consuming and expensive process for a studio to travel the whole country photographing all of the scenes a customer might want to see included in an album. And as studio owners retired or died, their businesses might have been continued by family members, or their stock and negatives might have been sold privately or auctioned off.
Consider just a few examples demonstrating the movement of negatives from studio to studio. One of the first studios to open in the early 1860s was one belonging to Felice Beato. He included the work of Charles Parker and a few images taken by the amateur Frederick Sutton. Most of Beato's negatives were sold to Stillfried & Andersen in 1877, who subsequently sold their stock to Adolfo Farsari in 1885. When Farsari left Japan in 1890, his studio continued under different names. But many of his negatives likely found their way to other studios when he left Japan.
In compiling the lists below, I have been helped by many generous contributors. These include: Tom Baker-Stimson, Greg Barattini, Emma Bennett, Torin Boyd, Tom Burnett, Jim Clinefelter, Agata Czapkowska, Joseph Dubois, Elmer Funkhauser, Arlene Hall, Naomi Izakura, Nayla Maaruf, Rob Oeschle, Bonnie Olson, Christoph Scharzenbach, Fred Sharf, Pierre Spake, and Shinichi Takahashi. (Please let me know if I need to include any names.)