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) 359 Shimonoseki
ENAMI T. (Studio) 360 Kintaikiyo of Iwakuni
ENAMI T. (Studio) 362 Kasuga Temple Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 363 Kasuga Temple Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 364 Kasuga Temple Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 365 Kasuga Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 366 Kasuga Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 367 Kasuga Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 371 Ishiyamatera
ENAMI T. (Studio) 373 Ishiyamatera
ENAMI T. (Studio) 374 Ishiyama at Biwa Lake
ENAMI T. (Studio) 375 Biwa Laek
ENAMI T. (Studio) 376 Kitano
ENAMI T. (Studio) 377 Kitano Tenjin
ENAMI T. (Studio) 378 Kitano Tenjin
ENAMI T. (Studio) 379 Nio in Daibutsiu Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 380 Kinkakuji
ENAMI T. (Studio) 381 Pine Tree at Kinkakuji Garden
ENAMI T. (Studio) 382 Interior Chioin Temple Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 383 Interior Chioin Temple Kioto also appears with Shin-E-Do studio stamp
ENAMI T. (Studio) 384 Interior Chioin Temple Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 386 Imado, Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 386 Chioin Bell
ENAMI T. (Studio) 388 Interior Chioin Temple Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 389 Interior Chioin Temple Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 390 Gojiyosaka
ENAMI T. (Studio) 391 Kurodani Grave of Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 393 Kiomitsu
ENAMI T. (Studio) 398 Sanjusangendo
ENAMI T. (Studio) 399 Nigatsudo Temple Nara
ENAMI T. (Studio) 400 Idols Sanjusangendo
ENAMI T. (Studio) 401 Inari
ENAMI T. (Studio) 404 Toy Shop at Inari
ENAMI T. (Studio) 405 Kamigamo
ENAMI T. (Studio) 406 Kurodani
ENAMI T. (Studio) 408 Kurodani
ENAMI T. (Studio) 410 Kamicamo
ENAMI T. (Studio) 411 Katsuragawa Rapid Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 412 Katsuragawa Rapid Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 415 Katsuragawa Rapid Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 417 Katsuragawa Rapid Kioto
ENAMI T. (Studio) 421 Biwa Laek
ENAMI T. (Studio) 423 Boat Play [original Uchida negative]
ENAMI T. (Studio) 425 Wisteria Flower, Kameido Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 436 Shiba
ENAMI T. (Studio) 438 Palace Garden, Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 440 Interior Shiba Temple Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 443 Shiba
ENAMI T. (Studio) 453 Shiba at Tokio
ENAMI T. (Studio) 454A Panorama: Town of Tokio
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