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) 204 Nunobiki Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 205 Takaboko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 206A Nagasaki Harbor (in 3 parts)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 207 Nagasaki (Harbor)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 208 Selling Japanese Shoes
ENAMI T. (Studio) 209 Kazagacira
ENAMI T. (Studio) 210 Kajiyamachi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 211 Hamanoma(c)hi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 212 Hindaikumachi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 213 Oswa Temple also in Kanamaru list
ENAMI T. (Studio) 215 Oswa Temple
ENAMI T. (Studio) 218 Oswa Temple
ENAMI T. (Studio) 219 Oswa Temple
ENAMI T. (Studio) 220 Oswa Park
ENAMI T. (Studio) 221 Oswa Park
ENAMI T. (Studio) 222 Tea House of Oswa Park
ENAMI T. (Studio) 225 Nakashima
ENAMI T. (Studio) 226 Nakasima Tea House
ENAMI T. (Studio) 227 Fumatagawa
ENAMI T. (Studio) 232 Sofukuji
ENAMI T. (Studio) 236 Nagasaki Harbor
ENAMI T. (Studio) 237 Nagasaki Harbor also in Kanamaru list
ENAMI T. (Studio) 239 Oura Bund
ENAMI T. (Studio) 241 Dejima
ENAMI T. (Studio) 242 Oura
ENAMI T. (Studio) 243 Oura
ENAMI T. (Studio) 244 Oura
ENAMI T. (Studio) 246 Meeting House at Nagasaki
ENAMI T. (Studio) 247 Oura Hotel
ENAMI T. (Studio) 249 Naminosira
ENAMI T. (Studio) 250 Nagasaki Harbor
ENAMI T. (Studio) 251 Nagasaki (Tategami Dock)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 252 Inasa (Man in a Boat)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 254 Akunoura
ENAMI T. (Studio) 255 Mogi (View of the Bay)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 256 Mogi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 257 Mogi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 258 Mogi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 259 Mogi Road
ENAMI T. (Studio) 260 Obama
ENAMI T. (Studio) 261 Obama
ENAMI T. (Studio) 265 Kojikoku Hot Spring
ENAMI T. (Studio) 267 Nagasaki (Harbor)
ENAMI T. (Studio) 268 Takaboko
ENAMI T. (Studio) 270b Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 271 Nunobiki Waterfall Kobe also appears in Tamamura list
ENAMI T. (Studio) 272 Nunobiki Waterfall Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 273 Swayama
ENAMI T. (Studio) 275 Bund Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 276 Kobe Bund
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