Old Asia Photography

Japanese Numbers List

​Souvenir Albums - Numbers List and Attribution Issues​

​Throughout the whole of the Meiji period and beyond, many studios in Japan issued souvenir albums of photographs. Unfortunately, many of these albums did not indicate the studio's name. Therefore, it was challenging to attribute the images' authorship to a particular studio or photographer. However, the vast majority of the photographs displayed descriptive captions and numbers on the face of the prints. A small percentage of the albums did indicate the studio with a title page or the name and address wet-stamped onto the back of the front cover. Starting in the early 1980s, I began to record the captions and numbers of those photographs contained in albums whose studios were identified. I also started to document those albums which needed to be identified. In those days, Japanese souvenir albums were relatively common. Within a few years, I could list photographs appearing in several hundreds of albums. Number patterns quickly emerged, and I identified an increasing number of studios. I published the results in my 1996 book Early Japanese Images where some 1,200 photographs were matched with their studios. In 2006 I published an expanded list of 4,000 in Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors' Data Guide. These have been further supplemented below to around 5,000. However, many gaps remain, and a few studios are yet to be identified.

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, Adrien Saks, Christoph Scharzenbach, Fred Sharf, Pierre Spake, and Shinichi Takahashi. (Please let me know if I need to include any names.)

Terry Bennett

January 2023

Studio Number Description Comments
ENAMI T. (Studio) 127 Yomeimon Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 128 Yomeimon (Gate) Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 129 Yomeimon (Gate) Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 130 Yomeimon (Gate) Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 133 Iyeyasu Karamon
ENAMI T. (Studio) 135 Iyeyasu Karamon
ENAMI T. (Studio) 136 Karamon Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 137 Iyeyas(u) Ishidan Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 138 Iyeyasu (Tomb) Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 139 Futaarasan Nikko (Temple)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 141 Nio In Niomon Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 143 Nitenmon Gate Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 147 Interior Iyemitsu Temple Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 148 Futatsudo Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 151 Ganman Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 152 Gamman Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 154 Jzo Gamman Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 156 Hodo (Waterfall)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 157 Jikan (Waterfall) Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 159 Waterfall Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 159A Urami Water Fall
ENAMI T. (Studio) 160 Ichinotaki Waterfall Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 160 Nikko Village
ENAMI T. (Studio) 161 Daiyagawa
ENAMI T. (Studio) 163 Kirifuri Waterfall
ENAMI T. (Studio) 165 Chuzenji Lake Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 167 Yumot Lake Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 168 Yumoto Lake Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 169 Tamadaie Waterfall Yumoto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 170 Chuzenji Lake Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 172 Miyanoshita from Dogashima
ENAMI T. (Studio) 172 Cave at Yenoshima
ENAMI T. (Studio) 173 Cave at Yenoshima (inside Cave)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 175 Dogashima
ENAMI T. (Studio) 177 Miyagino
ENAMI T. (Studio) 178 Miyagino
ENAMI T. (Studio) 179A Kanazawa
ENAMI T. (Studio) 179B Kanazawa
ENAMI T. (Studio) 181 Kashiwabara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 182 Kanazawa
ENAMI T. (Studio) 183 Tomioka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 186 Yashamon Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 188 Iemitsu Temple Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 190 [Garden with a Tea House]
ENAMI T. (Studio) 191 Kasakamurij(i)zo Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 192 Kan Non at Nikko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 200 Takaboko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 201 Takaboko also appears in Shin-E-Do list
ENAMI T. (Studio) 202 Takaboko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 203 Takaboko
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