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) 277 Kobe Railway
ENAMI T. (Studio) 279 Moon Temple Mayasan
ENAMI T. (Studio) 280 Kiyomizu at Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 282 Gojhozaka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 283 Maruyama
ENAMI T. (Studio) 284 Chioin
ENAMI T. (Studio) 285 Chiioin
ENAMI T. (Studio) 286 Kinkakuji
ENAMI T. (Studio) 287 Rokakudo
ENAMI T. (Studio) 289 Ani at Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 290 Gionmachi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 291 Nagoya [Castle] also appears in Shin-E-Do list
ENAMI T. (Studio) 295 Maples Oji
ENAMI T. (Studio) 296 Maples Oji Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 297 Maples Oji Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 302 [3 children at foot of bridge]
ENAMI T. (Studio) 307 Fuji from Otometoge
ENAMI T. (Studio) 308 Fuji from Hakone Lake
ENAMI T. (Studio) 310 Fuji from Kashiwabara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 311 Fuji from Tagonoura
ENAMI T. (Studio) 312 Hot Spring at Tonosawa in Hakone
ENAMI T. (Studio) 313 Fuji from Yoshiwara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 314 Fuji from Yoshiwara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 315 Fuji from Yoshiwara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 316 Fuji from Iwabuchi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 318 Fuji from Iwabuchi
ENAMI T. (Studio) 319 Fuji from Fujikawa
ENAMI T. (Studio) 321 Fuji from Omiya
ENAMI T. (Studio) 323 Fuji from Omiya
ENAMI T. (Studio) 324 Fuji Shira(i)to Waterfall
ENAMI T. (Studio) 325 Fujika Waterfall
ENAMI T. (Studio) 326 Fujikawa also appears in Shin-E-Do list
ENAMI T. (Studio) 328 Palace of Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 331 Wistaria of Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 337 Oriental Hotel Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 338 Bund Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 339 Nunobiki Waterfall Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 340 Nunobiki Water Fall Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 342 Kiyomori Tomb Kobe
ENAMI T. (Studio) 343 Tennoji Temple Osaka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 344 Amidaike Osaka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 345 Amidaike Osaka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 346 Sumiyoshi Osaka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 348 Castle Osaka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 349a Sarusawa Pond Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 349b Sarusawa Pond Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 354 Onomichi of Bingo
ENAMI T. (Studio) 356 Tomo of Bingo
ENAMI T. (Studio) 357 Tomo of Bingo also appears in Shin-E-Do list
ENAMI T. (Studio) 358 Shimonoseki
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