Figure 1.--This Ambrotype photograph shows a Japanese boy nammed Okuda Michitaro. His name is written in sumi ink on the back of the wooden case. It is a fascinating view of both hair styles and traditional clothing. This looks to be dress hakama kimono and not an everyday one. Hakama are a kind of long skirt, tied at the waist and fall to the ankles. Hakama are worn over a kimono (hakamashita). They were in the 19th century when this portrait was tken a men's style, but women now also wear hakama. We are not sure what he is holding, perhaps a cased photograph.

Okuda Michitaro (Japan, 1880s)

This Ambrotype photograph shows a Japanese boy nammed Okuda Michitaro. His name is written in sumi ink on the back of the wooden case. He looks to be a younger teenager, perhaps 13-14 years old. It is a fascinating view of both hair styles and traditional clothing. His hair is sevrly combed back, but with a modest part. There seems to a bun in the back, although it is difficilt to tell with this front view. Japan by the time this portrait was taken had founded a modern school system as part of the Mejii Restoration. We are not sure, however, if this boy attended school. The mere fact that he had a portrait made as well as his elegant clothing suggests to us that he came from a wealthy family. Perhaps he had a tutor. He looks to be dress hakama kimono and not an everyday one. Hakama are a kind of long skirt, tied at the waist and fall to the ankles. Hakama are worn over a kimono (hakamashita). They were in the 19th century when this portrait was tken a men's style, but women now also wear hakama. Notice the hakama is done in a solid color, although we do not know what color it may have been. Notice the wooden geta shoes and how high the foot platform was. This is higher than we normally see. Also notice the tabi toe socks. The Japanese did not normally wear the geta shoes without socks. The tabi socks wirn by both genders in the 19th and most of the 20th century were almost always white. The portrait is undated and traditional clothing provides few clues as to the date of the portrait. Traditional styles did not change as much as styles of Western clothing. The dealer belirves it was taken during the mid-Meiji period or in the 1880s. The size is 6 cm x 8.8cm (2.4 in x 3.5 in). The date is possible because Ambrotypes persisted in Japan after they had disappeared in the West. As was common in Japan, the case and frame was wooden. Note that the boy is not attemptung to hode his hands. We note that in many early photograophs that the ubjects covered their hand or at leat one hand. We do notice this in many Japabese photogrphs, including photograohs taken in the early-20th century. pparently some people belirved that the photographer could steal your soul if you exposed your hands.







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Created: 8:52 PM 6/4/2012
Last edited: 8:52 PM 6/4/2012