support this research
70208-0015 - Japanese Women in Kimono

1880s
Woman in Kimono

Artist Unknown
Publisher Unknown
Medium Albumen Print
Period Meiji
Location Studio
Image No. 70208-0015
Purchase Digital File
Author

A beautiful portrait of a woman in kimono. This photograph was extremely popular during the late 1800s and has been attributed to just about every major photographer who was active during that time.

In his book Early Japanese Images , photographic expert Terry Bennett calls this woman an “officer’s daughter” and dates it to the 1880s.

His notes give a little background information1:

Variously attributed to Stillfried, Farsari, and Kusakabe, this charming portrait enjoyed great popularity during the last two decades of the nineteenth century, appearing not only in tourist albums but even in travel guides to Japan. Clearly this image corresponded with Western notions of Japanese feminine beauty. However, the author once saw an inscription that read ‘Eurasian Beauty.

Addendum

Since I wrote this article, Japanese photo researcher Rob Oechsle attributed this image to Baron Raimund von Stillfried (1839–1911) and dates it to 1876-1885. The name Miss Matsuida was found on part of an early manuscript notation on the mount of a print of this image.

Notes

1 Bennett, Terry (1996). Early Japanese Images. Charles E, Tuttle Company, 143. ISBN: 0804820295.

Published
Updated

Leave a Comment

Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). 1880s: Woman in Kimono, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on May 27, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/403/woman-kimono

I have a small favor to ask

Old Photos of Japan aims to be your personal museum for Japan's visual heritage to increase our understanding of Japanese culture and society.

Finding, acquiring, scanning, restoring, researching and conserving these vintage images, and making the imagery and research freely available online, takes serious time, money and effort.

I do this without charging for access, selling user data, or running ads.

Your support helps to make this possible, and ensures that this important visual heritage of Japan will not be lost and forgotten.

If you can, please consider supporting Old Photos of Japan with a regular amount each month. Or become a volunteer.

Thank you,
Kjeld Duits

support this research

Explore More

…

1890s
Woman Writing with Brush

A woman wearing a kimono is writing a letter with a brush.

…

1890s
Kakubeijishi

Kakubeijishi (角兵衛獅子, also: Kakubeejishi) are acrobatics performed on the street by young boys who did handstands, somersaults and the like, either alone or with their partners. In this photo, three children perform a combination act.

…

1920s
Woman Writing Letter

A young Japanese woman in kimono and traditional hairstyle is writing a letter or poem.

Add Comment

I’ve read that this is actually a photograph of Saito Kichi (斎藤きち). A woman involved in a tragic love story during the Bakumatsu. She was forced to leave her fiancé and was strategically assigned to be Townsend Harris’ concubine during his time in Japan.

https://ja.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/斎藤きち

·

(Author)

Thank you for sharing. There are quite a few other photos that have also been claimed to show Saito Kichi. As far as I know there is no proof that any of these photo truly show Saito.

Are you familiar with Shimoda Story by Oliver Statler? From page 384 he gives a very well-researched account about what really happened to Saito. The most reliable account I have found so far.

·

I am not familiar with with the Shimoda Story, but it will be put in my basket as the next one to read! Thank you for the recommendation!

·