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Photograph. - [Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun : Honjo fukagawa hanbai-kyoku : Urahobunsha].

n.p. [1872?]. Albumen print 27x21cm mounted on card (42x34cm) with a printed border. Some blotches and small flaws; the white spots you can see appear to be in the negative. Ink inscription on the back. ¶ An impressive pageant of hats if nothing else. But this is something else: a large commemorative group portrait of the staff of Tokyo's first daily newspaper - the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun - outside their headquarters. The 1909 inscription on the back tells us that this photo commemorated sales of three thousand papers. Their first issue appeared in March 1872 (dated February per the old calendar) and I doubt that having set up their office, had staff jackets made and made sure no-one was wearing the same hat, they would lounge around too long. The paper went on to bigger and better things quickly. In 1877 they moved to a large brick building and by the early 20th century it was one of Japan's major newspapers. In 1943 it was merged with the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun to become the Mainichi Shimbun. I wonder how much this photograph was a conscious exercise in hierarchy and how much might be instinctive. It's clear the centre of power is in the three men who stand higher than anyone else. The man in the panama, centre in that trio, stands imperious and his right hand man in the boater is hunched so that he doesn't overtop him. The third man loafs at ease. The distance from those three marks seniority.
AUD 480.00 [Appr.: EURO 289.5 US$ 303 | £UK 251.25 | JP¥ 45416] Book number 10626

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