This page was created by Emily Chapman.  The last update was by Kate McDonald.

Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

A note on ethics

A note to readers: this page is structured in a question and answer format. If you have any connection to the images in this module, please contact us at

Where did the Yajima albums come from?

The albums were bought at Yokohama Antiques World (Yokohama kottō warudo) in 2015. They were bought as a bundle of three. It is possible others in the collection had already been bought or were never acquired by the seller. The seller confirmed that he had acquired the albums in Tokyo and drawing on discussions with other retroware and antique vendors across the city in 2015, box auctions are a commonplace means for them to acquire stock from old or abandoned houses, or from owners selling on their family possessions for a profit. The use of such albums in scholarship on amateur photography is commonplace. In the wider global scholarship Mette Sandbye, for example, draws on her "vast collection" to think about and think with in considering image and family (Sandbye 2014). Elizabeth Edwards, meanwhile, has commented on the discarding of family albums (Edwards and Hart 2004).

Do the family know that you have their photographs?

No. The author is actively looking for the family and a relevant institution has been approached for any contact information. This module also exists as a way of—hopefully—reaching the family. However, it is possible the remaining family members know the album was sold as there are signs that someone—perhaps a family member—prepared the albums for sale by removing some images to discard separately, or perhaps for framing as individual prints.

What have you done to protect personal information?

As it is likely some of the family are still alive, all identifying information has been changed (names, addresses, car registration plates etc.) You will notice that these features are blurred or cropped out of the images in this module.

Are all photographs in this module from the Yajima albums?

No. The image of a family from Tohoku which includes the father shown through kessei waku was bought separately and is used here to provide something to think with in considering absence and image.

This page is referenced by:

This page references: