Bodies and Structures

"Photograph of the Chinese Abductor of a [Japanese] Woman"

Regarding the abductor of a Japanese woman - Nagasaki Governor report re Chen Zhaopin 1929-10

We don't know what Ogura Nobu looked like -- in fact, the Foreign Ministry files on "abducted women" contain no photographs at all. Except this one: It comes to us attached to a document circulated by the Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture, Itō Kihachirō, on October 16, 1929. Titled "Sending the photograph of the Chinese abductor of a [Japanese] woman," the document summarized the Ogura-Chen story in one or two lines and then indicated that Chen's photograph had been taken at the time of his passage through Nagasaki port.

[One must wonder how many people, especially Chinese or other Asians, had their photographs taken, mug-shot style, as they passed through Japanese ports on their way in or out of the country. I have not found such photos in my various excursions in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Were these discarded, either to save space or from a belief that they were no longer necessary at some point in the life of these dossiers on mobile others? Or am I simply wishing for the loss of photographs never taken, in order to pose questions to the dead archive?]

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