Witnessing the Action of Current Events from the Comfort of Your Chair: The Place of the Photographic Magazine The Graphic (Gurahikku グラヒック)
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Translated from the Japanese by Honda Erumi
First published (in Japanese) by Kashiwa Shobo in June, 2005
The Age of Pictorials
The Graphic was first issued by the Yūrakusha Publishing Company on January 1, 1909. The magazine was sold bimonthly on the first day of the month and the fifteenth. I have reprinted the magazine using the source texts owned by the University of Tokyo Meiji Newspaper and Journal Library (The University of Tokyo Graduate School for Law and Politics Center for Modern Japanese Legal and Political Documents); for source texts unavailable there, I used those owned by the National Diet Library. The latest issue I could find was the one that had been published on March 20, 1912 (Volume 4, Issue 5). The Graphic was initially sold at the price of 6 sen and was 20 pages in length, including the advertisement pages. While little change was made to the length, the price was gradually raised from the initial 6 sen to 10, 15, and so on. The latest issue I could find was 30 sen and 44 pages in length. Due to the fact that it was a special edition, entitled The Car Issue, the page count was double the regular size.
On January 1, 1910, one year after its first publication, Yūrakusha published the entertainment section of The Graphic as an independent magazine, The Theatre Graphic. The following year, on January 1, 1911, Yūrakusha released a special edition called Special Edition: Japan's Korea in commemoration of the Japanese annexation of Korea. These special publications were not on the regular publication cycle. For approximately the first three years, between the first issue and Volume 4, Issue 5, the editor/publisher (田中源三郎; Tanaka Genzaburō) and the address of Yūrakusha (3-1 Yūraku-chō Kōjimachi-ku Tokyo-city) remained unchanged.
The Graphic was a large-format magazine, using the 4-6-4 baiban (37.1 cm × 25.7 cm). It was larger than other contemporary magazines, such as The Sun, which was initially published in the size of 4-6 baiban (18.8 cm × 25.4 cm) and temporarily enlarged to that of kiku baiban (21.8 cm × 30.4 cm), and Everyday Life Pictorial, which was 4-6 baiban. The Graphic matched a typical pictorial magazine of the later period, Asahi Graph (4-6-4 baiban), in size. The only exception to this was the special edition entitled Special Edition: Marriage Pictorial (Volume 3, Issue 24), which was the size of 4-6 baiban and smaller than usual. Acknowledging that the size of a magazine is closely related to its character, it should, first of all, be emphasized that The Graphic was a large-sized magazine.
Every issue of The Graphic had either a drawing or photograph on the front cover, and was titled in English, “the graphic,” accompanied by the Japanese title written in large katakana letters: “グラヒック.” The design of the front page and the font styles of the title remained inconsistent for some time after the magazine was first launched. Starting with Volume 2, Issue 15, however, drawings of the Miyagi nijū-bashi bridge began to appear regularly on the front page as its background. Beginning with Volume 3, Issue 21, drawings of a palace, which I surmise to be the Akasaka Imperial Villa, replaced those of the Miyagi nijū-bashi bridge.
Starting from Volume 1, Issue 19, the words, “Photographic Pictorial,” often appeared on the front page. After volume 2, these words were almost always used on the front page, until Volume 3, Issue 20. It should be noted, however, that beginning with Volume 1, Issue 16 — Special Edition: Great Osaka Fire Pictorial — special editions were published one after another, including Crown Prince Tōgū's Visit to the Hokuriku Region Pictorial, The Commemorative Year of Nagoya Competitive Exhibition Pictorial (Volume 2, Issue 9), Colonization of Hokkaidō Pictorial (Volume 2, Issue 21), and so on. These were not the only special issues that were published. That these journals were supposed to be “pictorial” was indicated in their titles. The words “Photographic Pictorial” ceased to appear after Volume 3, Issue 21. They were not included in the colophon, either. Therefore, it is unlikely that “Photographic Pictorial” had been used as the magazine's official title.
Although the arrangement of the contents of the magazine centered around photographs, the subtitle “Photographic Pictorial” was perhaps discontinued not only because earlier magazines had used similar titles, but also because the graphics in the magazine were not solely focused on photographs. Special edition articles on, for instance, the imperial family and natural disaster, could not be covered only by photographs and had to be supplemented with drawings.
For example, on the front cover of the special edition devoted to the Great Osaka Fire called Osaka Conflagration Number (Figure 1) (retouched by a painter),” and “The Roaring Fire Burns Down the Dōjima Area; Truly Incredible (retouched by a painter).”
Probably reflecting such reliance on drawings, sometimes the front cover had drawings and other times photographs, and this decision was not based on any consistent principle. A number of well-known painters, such as Nakamura Fusetsu, Mitsutani Kunishirō, Hashimoto Kunisuke, and Yūki Somei, were involved in the production of the magazine.
In general, pictorial magazines have been considered a type of news magazine centered on drawings. Historically, there have, for a long time, been texts, such as ezōshi and ehon, which relied on drawings. Drawings have been used effectively to supplement what words cannot describe in journalism as well. In Japan, an early example of this is the kawaraban of the late Edo period (1603-1868). Earthquakes, fires, and wars were reported, along with drawings of devastation and maps of disaster areas.
Soon after the publication of newspapers began, illustrations were used for newspaper articles. Japanese newspapers mimicked the style of illustrated newspapers in Europe and the United States, a typical example of which was the Illustrated London News (published starting in 1842). The first issue (December 8, 1870) of the first Japanese daily newspaper, Yokohama Daily News, was composed exclusively of textual articles. In contrast, the first issue of Tokyo Daily News (February 21, 1872) added the illustration “A brief map of Salt Lake City” to the article entitled “The excerpt of a letter sent to my friend from Salt Lake City in the United States”. Hiragana Illustrated News later to become Tokyo Illustrated News was first published on April 7, 1875. This newspaper was advertised as containing illustrations from the very beginning, using the term eiri (with illustrations) in the title. Satiric magazines such as Curious Tales of This and That (March, 1877) and Millet Cake (October, 1878), used many illustrations. However, illustrations in newspapers and magazines during the early Meiji period were in most cases used only to supplement the articles.
There were also the so-called shimbun nishikie 新聞錦絵 (posters which combined the nishikie, or color woodblock prints, of events that each newspaper reported, with brief explanations). These were first published by Tokyo Daily News in 1874, followed by Postal Announcement News. Although the ratio of text to illustrations was reversed in these shimbun nishikie, they were not developed into magazines.
It was not until the publication of Everyday Life Pictorial (published by Tōyōdō in February, 1889), that publications began to actively introduce themselves as pictorial magazines. Inspired probably by the success of Everyday Life Pictorial, other pictorial magazines were published one after another: Nation of Noble Men Pictorial (published by Jikyōsha in January, 1894), Japanese Art Pictorial (published by Gahōsha in June, 1894, and renamed Art Pictorial in June, 1899), Warrior Nation Photographic Pictorial (published by Shunyōdō in October, 1894, and renamed Photographic Pictorial in March, 1895), Kubota Beisen and Kubota Beisai's Sino-Japanese War Pictorial (published by Ōkura Shoten in October, 1894), World Affairs Pictorial (published by Onkodō in July, 1898), The Eastern Pictorial (published by Keigyōsha in March, 1903, then renamed Recent Events Pictorial in September, 1903, and subsequently renamed again The Wartime Pictorial along with the English title, The Japanese Graphic, in February, 1904, after the Russo-Japanese War broke out), The Russo-Japanese War Photographic Pictorial (published by Hakubunkan in April, 1904), Nation at War Pictorial, Boys Photographic Pictorial (published by Ikubunsha in June, 1904), Ladies Pictorial (published by Kinji Gahōsha in July, 1905), Photographic Pictorial (published by Hakubunkan in January, 1906, with the English subtitle The Japan Graphic), Entertainment Pictorial (published by Engeigahōsha in January, 1907), The Ladies of the East Pictorial (published by Tōkyōsha in August, 1907), Sunday Pictorial (Published by Hakubunkan in January, 1911), and so forth.
As can be seen in the titles of these magazines, the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War contributed to the pictorial magazine boom in the late Meiji period. In particular, the Sino-Japanese War, which broke out in the summer of 1894, was the first international conflict in which the Meiji government became seriously engaged. The war brought people's attention to the battlefield and raised patriotic feelings. On one hand, there was a demand from people who wanted to follow the progress of the war. On the other hand, publishers found in the war raw materials for marketable projects. A war, unlike the everyday news, is a compound of complex events, which can be reported from many different perspectives. Also, the government actively permitted journalists to accompany the military. The coverage was thus much greater than in the previous Boshin War (1868) and Satsuma Rebellion (1877). In order to report the constantly-changing situations of the war, magazines were useful media, as they were published on a regular basis.
The preface of Volume 3 (November 29, 1894) of Warrior Nation Photographic Pictorial (published bimonthly; eleven volumes in total) asserted the superiority of magazines to newspapers as follows:
“A gulf between Japan and China was created after these two nations dispatched their troops to Korea, which led to the unexpected result of one of the largest wars in the East. Since then, the situation of these three nations has become a public concern and a number of people are looking for information about these nations. Newspaper articles are, however, simply pieces of paper carrying inadequate information and do not capture the entirety of the war. Also, due to the lack of illustrations, they cannot satisfy the readers' desire to know about things in depth. We think that in order to look into the truth, nothing is better than relying on photographs. Using Mr. Ogawa Kazumasa's photo-engravings, we published the first volume of Warrior Nation Photographic Pictorial in October, 1894. This is the very first example in our Empire of a magazine published using photo-engravings. Our pictorial magazine's primary interest is not limited to photographs that will reveal the situations of the battlefield. Taking an expanded point of view, we will grasp the realities of what the public wants to know about these three nations' situations, from their manners and customs to their geography, and report them. With this objective in mind, if we obtain eye-catching photographs, even if they are from other countries than the three Eastern nations currently in combat, we promise to carry them to inform the public. The readers will surely become aware that our pictorial magazine has special qualities that make us exceed others [...]”
Here, in fact, not only the superiority of magazines to newspapers, but also that of pictorial magazines with graphics to ones without, and that of photographs to drawings are all highlighted. The preface also expresses the magazine's policy of carrying photographs depicting “the realities of what the public wants to know about these three nations' situations, from their manners and customers to their geography” without being limited to photographs of warfare. This policy was identical to that of graphic magazines of the later period, and was reflected in the magazine's title: Warrior Nation Photographic Pictorial. In this respect, Warrior Nation Photographic Pictorial was slightly different from Hakubunkan Publishing Company's The True Account of the Sino-Japanese War (published 3 times a month, 50 volumes in total), which had been published prior to Warrior Nation Photographic Pictorial in August, 1894.
The True Account of the Sino-Japanese War advertised the fact that their frontispieces were composed of Ogawa Kazumasa's “photo-engravings” (photo-copperplate prints). As more issues were produced, The True Account of the Sino-Japanese War's memorial portraits of individuals killed in the war attracted people's attention. Early on, it was said that the circulation of the magazine per volume amounted to more than one hundred thousand. No magazine had ever sold so well. Gaining momentum from the magazine's success, Hakubunkan published a new magazine called The Sun in January, 1895. The Sun was a comprehensive magazine full of photographs and illustrations, and it was unprecedentedly large, in the size of 4-6 baiban, which attracted people's attention, helping The Sun become a leading magazine of the late Meiji period.
As seen in the success of The Sun, other pictorial magazines were becoming more visually-oriented through the introduction of drawings and photographs. The invention of photo-engraving techniques accelerated this tendency. The pioneer pictorial magazine, Everyday Life Pictorial, also published special issues one after another following the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, including The Sino-Japanese War Illustrated (4 volumes in total) and Let's Defeat China Illustrated (6 volumes in total). However, as can be seen from the term “illustrated”, Everyday Life Pictorial relied largely on drawings rather than on photographs. Therefore, although these were special editions of a pictorial magazine, the use of photographs was not actively promoted.
When the Russo-Japanese War broke out, news reporting through photographs increased and developed further. One can observe this tendency simply by comparing The True Account of the Sino-Japanese War and The True Account of the Russo-Japanese War (first published in February, 1904, 110 volumes in total), both of which were published by Hakubunkan, with The Russo-Japanese War Photographic Pictorial also published as a regular extra edition of the latter.
First published in January, 1909, The Graphic was obviously a descendant of these magazines which actively used photographs. However, as seen from the fact that the magazine was given the title 'The Graphic’ instead of a title including the term “pictorial”, there was an attempt to differentiate The Graphic from other preceding magazines. This was reflected in the organization of the contents of The Graphic, which relied primarily on photographs on all pages. The first issue in particular exhibited the magazine's stance of letting the photographs speak, and avoiding explanations through words as much as possible.
The fact that The Graphic used photographs heavily is made evident by comparing it with other contemporary magazines like Everyday Life Pictorial and The Sun. As of January, 1909, while the number of the photographs in Everyday Life Pictorial ( Issue no. 392) and in The Sun (Volume 15, issue 1) were twelve and sixty-six respectively, the first issue of The Graphic had more than one hundred and ten photographs.
“Manryū the Famous Geisha, in Her Different Styles” (Figure 2),ryō.” With so little commentary, the readers had to interpret these photographs as her answers. The Graphic contained other pages such as “Executives and Administrators of the Bank of Japan,” “One Day in the Life of the Greatest Businessman in Japan: Baron Shibusawa on Dec. 9, 1908” (Figure 3), The Manufacture of Gas,” each of which were accompanied by more than ten photographs. Compared to this, Everyday Life Pictorial and The Sun were composed almost exclusively of textual articles. All considered, The Graphic had quite an innovative approach to content organization.
Yūrakusha Publishing Company
In the first issue of The Graphic, there were no opening remarks about the launch of the magazine, and the editors expressed neither their purpose in publishing the magazine nor their editorial policies. One might find access to such information in the advertisement section, where the editors talked about The Graphic. Prior to the first anniversary of the publication of The Graphic, the magazine printed a large advertisement for The Graphic, Tokyo Puck, and Friend; “A necessity for all social classes and a source of entertainment for all families: Yūrakusha's three biggest pictorial magazines.” The advertisement reads:
“The Graphic is a pictorial magazine that reports on a variety of events in society, as if grabbing them with our hands, in the fastest way possible, with the most beautiful and detailed photographs. It makes the reader a witness to the action of current events, all while seated, putting him freely into the households of nobles and celebrities, and granting face-to-face meetings with major figures and heroes. With a scale so vast and equipment so complete, there is no match for our Graphic on this side of the east of Suez” (The Graphic, Volume 1, Issue 25).
With the third anniversary of the publication of The Graphic near at hand, the editors made another claim about the magazine:
“ ‘Seeing is believing’ is an old maxim. Through hearsay and newspaper articles, one can get the gist of a fact, but this is nothing more than picturing the outline of reality vaguely in one's mind. The only way to satisfy one’s desire to know the reality of events in the fastest and most accurate way is to take a look at our Graphic. Our Graphic reports current events with photographs, enabling you, the reader, to witness what is happening in the world from the comfort of your chair [...]” (The Graphic, Volume 3, Issue 24).
These editors’ comments claimed that readers could have access to information about events in society while seated, through the medium of photographs. These claims showed that the editors had the eagerness to “report on a variety of events in society” and trusted that photographs would make their endeavor possible.
Yūrakusha was established by Nakamura Yajirō (pen name: Yūraku) in 1904. He originally ran a business for lending and selling books through his store called Benridō in Kyoto. He gradually expanded his business from sales to publishing. After handing over Benridō to his eldest brother, he left for Tokyo, where he established Yūrakusha, a business in which Kawai Chōzō (河合長蔵) in Nishijin, Kyoto, made an investment. Yajirō's publishing enterprise began with the publication of such magazines as English Boys World and Letter Magazine. One year later in April, 1905, after Kitazawa Rakuten joined the group as the editor in chief, Yūrakusha published Tokyo Puck, which was composed mainly of cartoons. Soon Tokyo Puck became a big hit. Tokyo Puck gained popularity because it was a large-sized magazine (using kiku ban) and all the pages were printed in multicolor.
Rakuten had been drawing cartoons in the Sunday Cartoons of Current Affairs section of Current News. Inspired by Funny News,published by Miyatake Gaikotsu in Osaka beginning in April, 1901, Rakuten attempted to publish a satiric cartoon magazine, modeled on the satiric magazine Puck, published in New York. This project granted Rakuten a great opportunity. Incidentally, the name “Puck” refers to the mischievous sprite in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although Yūraku wanted the title to be Raccoon Dog, Rakuten tenaciously insisted on using Tokyo Puck.
Tokyo Puck, which began as a monthly magazine, was published bimonthly starting in the second year, and starting in the third year it was issued every ten days. In its prime, it is said that Tokyo Puck sold sixty thousand issues every month. In 1908, another magazine for children called Friend was published, also with Rakuten as the editor in chief. After the May 1, 1912, issue of Tokyo Puck (volume 8, issue 13) was published, however, Rakuten suddenly left Yūrakusha. It is said that a quarrel between Rakuten and Yūraku caused Rakuten to leave. 
After Rakuten left Yūrakusha, the publication of Tokyo Puck continued with some intermissions until 1941. The early Tokyo Puck edited by Rakuten is called the first phase of Tokyo Puck. The publication period of The Graphic corresponded to the first phase of Tokyo Puck and Friend. The fact that the titles of these three magazines, Tokyo Puck, The Graphic, and Friend, were all written in katakana letters may be due to the success of Tokyo Puck, which had adopted its katakana title instead of the title Racoon Dog, written in hiragana letters. Moreover, Yūrakusha renamed the magazine called North, South, East, and West, published beginning in September, 1907, giving it a different title including katakana letters, Tokyo Echo, in September, 1908. Tokyo Puck, The Graphic, and The Theatre Graphic, were combined and published as The Commemorative Year of Nagoya Competitive Exhibition Pictorial (Volume 2, Issue 9) for a single issue, with the front cover showing the wife of Katsura Tarō, Kanako, who was famous for her beauty, sitting on top of the golden carp of Nagoya castle. The magazine was composed of a mixture of cartoons and photographs, each taking its own role as explained in the magazine as follows: “Little Puck the Cartoonist wittily observes the side view of objects and Little Graphic the Photographer takes memorable photographs from the front. This 40-page-long spectacular contains a variety of perspectives.”
By comparing the different ways in which Tokyo Puck and The Graphic treated the same events, the character of each magazine can be identified. As a good example of such a comparison, one may look at how each magazine reported on the social phenomenon of summer vacations (The Tokyo Puck Summer Vacation Issue, Volume 6, Issue 20 and The Graphic Summer Vacation Issue,  Volume 3, Issue 15).
Although it was not necessarily the case that The Graphic had no satiric aspects, the magazine had basically no political slant and reported various aspects of society straightforwardly through photographs. Tokyo Puck Summer Vacation Issue claimed that the summer vacation was “in the end an extravagant activity of the rich, and it is completely wrong for those who are not wealthy to mimic them.” The magazine further argued that “people should never have desires unbecoming to themselves. In our Puck, we have oceans, mountains, and beautiful ladies. Used as a fan, the magazine will immediately generate wind. Look at our Tokyo Puck Summer Vacation Issue and forget the heat of summer.” Thus, the magazine humorously relieved the frustration of those who were unable to go on vacation. On the other hand, The Graphic Summer Vacation Issue contained such articles as “The Summer Vacations of Westerners” and “Summer Vacations of the Royal Households of Different Nations,” and, in addition, presented photographs of summer resorts throughout Japan. The magazine also put out “A List of Places for Fun Summer Vacation Trips” and an advertisement by the Imperial Government Railway entitled “Introduction to Summer Vacations (Beaches)” at the end of the magazine. Clearly, the intended readers of this magazine were those who could afford trips to summer resorts.
Yūrakusha’s publications were not limited to magazines. At the end of the extra edition called Typical Japan (Japan the Exemplary) (Volume 2, Issue 11), the richest in content of the special extra editions, was an introduction to Yūrakusha, along with an English translation:
“In addition to periodicals, Yūrakusha publishes a number of books that are both profitable and pleasurable, including English translations of Tokutomi Roka's Hototogisu, Sugimura Sojinkan's Daieiyūki and Hankyūshūyū, Yabuno Mukujū's Sekai kenbutsu, Wada Manshi's Shin seiyō shōfu, and also Swedenborg's Tengoku to jigoku (Heaven and Hell), all of which are remarkable Japanese publications.
As for our publication of English translations of Japanese texts, it is an honor that Yūrakusha is acknowledged as the pioneer in this field: We have published English translations of Japanese novels and biographies, such as Ozaki Kōyō's Konjiki yasha, Kinoshita Naoe's Otto no jihaku, (Murai) Gensai's Kibun daijin, (Walter) Dening's The Life of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and so on. At present, there are only a few translations of Japanese masterpieces available, and enough work is not yet done. Yūrakusha promises to make further efforts in the coming years as an exporter of Japanese literature.”
Advertisements for books published by Yūrakusha appeared sporadically in The Graphic. Further information is available from “the list of important Yūrakusha publications” in Tokyo Puck (Volume 7, Issue 35), published on December 10, 1911. The fact that there were many publications of overseas travel journals might be related to The Graphic's practice of providing information about foreign countries through photographs.
Also, it should be noted that Sugiyama Sojinkan, the author of Daieiyūki and Hankyūshūyū, and Shibukawa Genji, the author of Yabuno Mukujū Nihon kenbutsu and Yabuno Mukujū Sekai kenbutsu, were both Asahi News reporters. We should pay particular attention to this fact because Sugimura Sojinkan served as the director of the Graph Bureau of the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun Company, which published the daily Asahi Graphic beginning in January, 1923. His name also appeared in The Graphic. Shibukawa Genji served as the social issues editor of Asahi News; here, we can see a link between The Graphic and Asahi Graphic . To reveal the connection, we need to examine Mori Aiken (森愛軒), the editor in chief of The Graphic.
Mori Aiken, Editor in Chief
Starting with Volume 2, Issue 10, published on May 15, 1910, the name of Mori Aiken began to appear as the Editor in Chief on the front cover of The Graphic. One year later, beginning with the January 1, 1911, issue (Volume 3, Issue 1), his name ceased to appear. It is unknown when Aiken became the Editor in Chief. However, when The Vogue Issue was published in October 1, 1909 (Volume 1, Issue 19), Aiken‘s name already appeared on the magazine along with a statement about the purpose of the special edition, under the title of “On The Vogue Issue” at the beginning of the magazine. Also in the same year, in the “Call for Prize Photographs” section of the December 15, 1909 issue (Volume 1, Issue 25), the name of “Mori Aiken (Editor in Chief)” was listed as a selecting committee member. It can thus be concluded that he had been involved in The Graphic since the fall of the year in which the magazine was first published.
Mori Aiken's real name was Mori Ippei. There was an autobiographical entry entitled “I am Mori Ippei” in the April 1, 1909, issue (Volume 4, Issue 5) of the photographic magazine, World of Photography, published by the Kuwata Shōkai Company, a photo materials company in Osaka:
- “Pen name: Aiken
- Social Status: A family with samurai antecedents
- Occupation: Secretary-general of the Okayama Chamber of Commerce
- Address: Shinobiyashiki Tonda-chō Okayama-city
- Date of Birth: June 10, 1877
- Place of Birth: Okayama-city
- The date I began taking photographs: March, 1904
- The kind and size of mechanical lens that I used in the beginning: I borrowed a machine called poketto poko from a friend of mine and started to take photographs.
- Why I began taking photographs: When the Russo-Japanese War broke out, I was working at the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and was ordered to go to Korea to investigate. There, I began taking photographs in order to commemorate what I experienced during the trip [...]
- Other: I enjoy reading foreign photograph magazines, yearbooks of photographs and so forth, written in English. This activity gives me endless enjoyment. I only wish that I could understand French and German.”
Tracing the back numbers of World of Photography, we can follow some of Mori Aiken’s activities from that time. His name first appeared in World of Photography in the March 3, 1907, issue (Volume 2, Issue 5). There it was shown that Aiken's photograph entitled “The Snow in Shinnyodō” received 23 points and won tenth prize at a regular meeting of the Naniwa Photo Club. In the December 3 issue of the same year (Volume 3, Issue 1), we can find another article entitled “Farewell Party for Officer, Ishizu Gessen, and Club Member, Mori Ippei,” which indicated that Aiken was transferred and promoted to the position of secretary-general of the Okayama Chamber of Commerce. In April 4, 1908, Aiken and eight of his friends formed the Okayama Misao Shayūkai (Okayama Misao Photo Friendship Association). The group published a report of their activities in the May 3rd issue of the same year (volume 3, issue 7).
After the May 3, 1908, issue, his name disappeared from World of Photography for a while and reappeared in the April 1, 1911, issue (volume 6, issue 5), which contained the following information:
“Mori Ippei managed The Graphic for Tokyo Yūrakusha for some time. There he demonstrated his great ability in magazine production. Then, he was inaugurated as the deputy manager of Yasuda Warehouse Osaka, and last year moved here and joined the Naniwa Photo Club again.”
Aiken also used the pen name Nagahyō (長瓢), which sometimes appeared in The Graphic. He contributed an article entitled “Yamato Gojō Photographic Travel Journal” to the July 1, 1911, issue of World of Photography (Volume 6, Issue 9) under the pen name Nagahyō. The September 1, 1912, issue (Volume 7, Issue 12) said that he organized the Tenkyūkai Meeting (天弓会) with six other members, including Kometani Kōrō of Naniwa Photo Club and Wakabayashi Shunkō of Mitsukoshi Photo Club. An article about the second Tenkyūkai Meeting (Volume 7, Issue 13) described Nagahyō’s opinions about photography as follows:
“Nagahyō preached on and on as if recalling his time as the editor in chief of The Graphic: 'The most important thing about photographs for magazines, unlike when we simply look at them individually, is that they are suitable for printing. Secondly, when inserting 10 photographs, they have to be grouped together as one coherent set, and we also have to think about the balance among these photographs. Therefore, although the members of the Tenkyūkai meeting should of course choose photographs of high-quality, we will also consider whether the photograph in question is suited for magazines......'”
Mori Aiken stayed in Okayama until April, 1908, and moved from Tokyo to Osaka in March, 1911. He served as the Editor in Chief of The Graphic during this period, in which he was able to apply his experience as the Editor in Chief to his activities at Naniwa Photo Club. It seemed that he was a persuasive speaker.
Aiken studied at Tokyo Senmon Gakkō (Tokyo Professional College, currently Waseda University). It is said that he served temporarily as a reporter for The Sun. Despite this background, he developed his career in the business world rather than in the publishing industry, and acquired his skills in photography as an amateur photographer. It was characteristic of The Graphic that a person with such work experience was selected as Editor in Chief. Of course he was, no doubt, hired for his management skills. However, the fact that he was an amateur photographer (according to his own account, he began photographing only five years before he became Editor in Chief) accounted for the fact that the magazine would contain photographs taken from a perspective different from that of a conventional professional photographer.
A typical example was “Daytime Dream” (Figure 4),
Aiken also wrote a comment accompanying “Daytime Dream”, directing readers' attention to the unemployed. He argued that in Japanese society, people in general had little sympathy toward those who lost their jobs. Therefore, drawings and poems featuring the unemployed were rarely found. Photographs of the jobless, said Aiken, could reveal the side of society that produced unemployment. Aiken concluded his comment about “Daytime Dream” as follows:
“This is the photograph I took with a Kodak camera while strolling in Hibiya Park. I would like to tell newcomers to photography that one does not necessarily need tripods and a focus screen in order to take pictorial photographs.”
Here, what Aiken had in mind when he said “[one would not] need tripods and a focus screen” was the photographic style of the professional photographers who owned studios on the busy streets around town. What he recommended was an opposing photographic style of going into society with a hand-held camera. He called the photographs taken in this way “pictorial photographs.”
This stance of Aiken as the Editor in Chief is reflected in how the contents of The Graphic were organized. When The Graphic was first published, the photographs in the magazine had mostly been of the “upper class” and artists under their protection, including politicians, business leaders, royal families and aristocrats, visiting foreigners, actors, geisha, sumo wrestlers, painters, and so forth. In contrast, after the publication reached Volume 2, photographs of the lower classes appeared sporadically. The earliest example was an article entitled “Free Shelter” (Volume 2, Issue 5), which began with the following line: “Civilization is something that would make the happy happier and the unhappy unhappier.” One of the two pictures beside the article had a note that said: “An unhappy person who spends a night of the lingering winter in a free shelter.” This was followed by similar articles, such as “Summer Night Tokyo” (Volume 3, Issue 17), “Tokyo Slum” (Volume 3, Issue 8) and so on.
It has to be noted, however, that Mori Aiken did not necessarily take the side of “the unhappy” when he criticized the contradictions of society. This was evident from his editing policies, which appeared in his column “Scolding of a Sparrow” in Volume 2, Issue 12:
“There are people who express their half-informed opinion that The Graphic should include more unsophisticated, vulgar materials. So let me say something. There are both the educated and uneducated, the noble and ordinary and the rich and poor. Therefore, it would be thoughtless of me to expect that everyone should have high and noble taste in things. However, the photographs for The Graphic must be respectable, no matter how ordinary their subjects.”
It seems that The Graphic was targeted at readers with “high and noble taste in things.” In the end, although some aspects of the lower classes were revealed through the magazine's photographs, they were presented from the point of view of the upper class, and not vice versa. While the magazine advertised itself as a “pictorial magazine that reports on a variety of events in society” (Volume 1, Issue 25, in the advertisement of the publisher), they did not adopt a policy of realizing this aim by carrying many “unsophisticated, vulgar materials.” In this respect, The Graphic differed from the graphic magazines that emerged between the end of the Taishō (1912-1926) period and the beginning of the Shōwa (1926-1989) period.
The same thing could be said about the magazine’s photography contests. To hold such contests in the magazine itself was not special to The Graphic, as The Sun had already undertaken similar projects since 1902. What was behind the rise in photography contests was the increase in the number of amateur photographers, who were different from commercial photographers. It used to be the case that aristocrats were central to photo clubs like the Japan Photo Association (President: Enomoto Takeaki: established in 1889), Greater Japan Photo Competition (President: Tokugawa Atsuyoshi: established in 1893), and Aristocratic Photo Association. In contrast, since the beginning of 1897, organizations of amateur photographers, such as the Tokyo Photo Friendship Association (headed by Ozaki Kōyō; established in 1901), Tōyō Photo Association, and Naniwa Photo Club or Yufutsuzusha (later Tokyo Photo Society) expanded the range of their activities and began to actively organize photo competitions through magazines and exhibitions. Businesses which sold photographic materials, such as the Konishiroku Company (the precursor of Konica) and the Kuwata Shōkai Company, supported these amateur photographers' activities. The downsizing of cameras further spurred the trend. Photo Tutorial published by the Kuwata Shōkai Company prior to the publication of World of Photography (first published in November, 1904) was a typical example of a magazine aimed at photography competitions on a monthly basis. The dominant approach to photography among amateur photographers at that time was pictorialism,
Belonging to the Chamber of Commerce, Mori Aiken himself came of age as a photographer in the midst of the amateur photography trend. It was therefore only natural that he attempted to organize a photographic contest for The Graphic, and it goes without saying that Aiken strove to take pictorial photographs, as reflected in the monogram imprinted on his “Daytime Dream”, which was like the monograph on a painting. As seen in articles such as “A Request to Amateur Photographers Taking Photographs of Everyday Life” (Volume 2, Issue 5) and “On Incorporating Human Figures into the Landscape Photographs” (Volume 2, Issue 12), Aiken often discussed his perspectives on photography.
Photography contests began in the December 15, 1909, issue (Volume 1, Issue 25) of The Graphic. There were two categories, “Graphic Photographs” and “Artistic Photographs.” Photographs in the former category, “those ranging from manners, customs and general worldly issues to people and landscapes from various locations, which will be memorable for families and a reference for those who have a wide range of interests,” would be judged by the editors. Photos in the latter category, “those of both landscapes and portraits, which can be printed in halftones to decorate our magazine,” would be reviewed by “the four gentlemen, Nakamura Fusetsu (an artist of Western painting), Hisano Tetsusuke (久野轍助) (landscape photographer), Kudō Takashi (portrait photographer), and Mori Aiken (Editor in Chief).” Incidentally, The Theatre Graphic included a “Call for Photographs of Beautiful Women” from the very first issue.
The announcement of “Winning Pictures for the First Photography Contest” took place the following year in the March 1st, 1910, issue (Volume 2, Issue 5). The list of the scores for the collected photographs was also released there. The reviewing process must have been conducted in the way that Aiken had become familiar with during his time at the Naniwa Photo Club.
At the same time, it should be noted that the above -mentioned editorial article, “A Request to Amateur Photographers Taking Photographs of Everyday Life,” might point to the dilemma Aiken faced as both an amateur photographer and Editor in Chief of The Graphic. As an amateur photographer, Aiken must have striven for photographs with artistic quality, ever since his tenure with the Naniwa Photo Club. According to Aiken, if the photographer has an artistic sense, it is not difficult to take artistic photographs because the photographer can determine the position of the camera toward motionless objects (such as landscapes and still lives) and decide on the exposure at his leisure. In contrast, in the case of the fūzoku (“documentary”) photographs, the photographer often takes snapshots with a hand-held camera, and is required to have “the ability to instantly capture a tasteful photographic subject in the midst of commonplace affairs.” Since this was not an easy task, Aiken argued, amateur photographers tended to avoid fūzoku photographs.
Aiken's term, “fūzoku photographs,” is close to what today are called documentary photographs. However, it should be remembered that he sought “good taste” in them. For The Graphic, which aspired to be “a pictorial magazine that reports incidents and events of various kinds in society,” such fūzoku photographs were vital, for The Graphic was not a coterie magazine for amateur photographers. In order to obtain fūzoku photographs, the editorial board often sent photographers directly to such events as the Crown Prince's vacation or the location of natural disasters. In the series of photography contests, readers were expected to send “those [photographs] that can decorate the magazine.” The project was intended to redirect readers' interests, which tended toward artistic photographs, toward fūzoku photographs instead.
Aiken's expectations for the photographs in The Graphic are seen in his comments on the photograph entitled “Tabako no hi (Lighting a Cigarette),” which won the fourth ranking of the third prize in “The Third Photographic Competition: Superior Artistic Photographs”:
“In the composition of 'Lighting a Cigarette,' there are too many objects, and moreover, not enough is done with the background. Therefore, this photograph cannot be evaluated as a masterpiece. However, the ingenuity of boldly attempting to find a photographic subject in this kind of moment is admirable” (Figure 5).
Toward the Age of Graphic Magazines
Although it is unknown to what extent Mori Aiken was involved in the editing process of The Graphic, the contents of the magazine gradually changed over the three years of its publication. I explore these shifts in the last part of this essay.
As pointed out earlier, The Graphic was an unprecedentedly large magazine, at the size of 4-6-4 baiban. Thanks to a larger format, large-sized photographs could be included, and multiple pictures could be displayed on one page. During the early stage of the magazine's publication, the editors seemed to make the most of this feature and avoided textual explanations as much as possible. The contents of the magazine were arranged either by showing various aspects of the same subject or by showing a subject consecutively in chronological order. The above-mentioned “Manryū the Famous Geisha in Her Different Styles” (Figure 2), from the first issue of The Graphic, is an example of the former technique. Other examples include “Executives and Administrators of the Bank of Japan” and “Completed and Uncompleted Buildings of Various Kinds.” In contrast, “One Day in the Life of the Greatest Businessman in Japan: Baron Shibusawa on Dec. 9, 1908” used the latter technique. Other examples of this technique include “The Funeral Procession for the Late General Okazawa” and “The Manufacture of Gas.”
Although The Graphic employed an unsophisticated layout, in which photos were simply laid out one after another, it made use of a variety of technical devices by comparison with other contemporary magazines. This being said, however, it should be remembered that the size of the magazine literally provided a space for experimentation with graphic design and paved the way toward the period in which the profession of the graphic designer emerged.
During the unstable period in which the design of the front cover of The Graphic changed in every issue, there was no framework within the magazine for regular features such as serial articles, columns, and so on. There was not even a table of contents, giving us the impression of haphazardness. Nonetheless, we can observe that from the early period, the magazine managed to include as subjects important people in the political and economic world, the private lives of artists, public facilities such as factories and hospitals, unusual landscapes, and the manners and customs of foreign counties. Also, as can be seen in “Boar Hunting in Mt. Amagi” (Volume 1, Issue 2) and “Deer Hunting in Nikkō” (Volume 1, Issue 3), the magazine adopted a style in which embedded reporters carrying cameras took detailed photographs of the events they reported on. Later this style was developed into large-scale reports on the trips of the Crown Prince and on areas devastated by natural disasters. Both were in accordance with the main objective of The Graphic; namely, that readers could “witness popular action pictures while seated”.
It should be noted, however, that what was carried in The Graphic was “news,” not merely everyday events. In making the magazine’s articles, the editors probably prioritized and selected events that could easily be visualized through photographs. Sensational incidents such as murder and robbery were not picked up (with the exception of “The Most Notorious Pickpocket Boss of Japan” [Volume 1, Issue 13], and sporadic articles on train accidents) because The Graphic aspired to be an enjoyable and refined magazine that everybody in the family could enjoy reading together. On the other hand, in the case of crimes and accidents, things would happen before anyone could record them, making it difficult to capture the events in photographs. The fact that the magazine repeatedly showed the private lives and off-duty scenes of important people in the political and economic worlds was simply because it was difficult to capture their public activities, which had to do with politics and the economy, in photographs. However, attempts to show politics through photographs were made as more volumes were published.
In the latter half of The Graphic’s publication period, the number of words began to increase. Revisions to the magazine’s contents must have been made as readers' reactions toward the photograph-centered issues were taken into consideration. Also, a table of contents was added beginning with “The Vogue Issue” in the fall of the year in which Mori Aiken’s name first appeared in the magazine. The presence of a table of contents suggested that editing principles had stabilized. In due course, columns, such as “Discussion with Experts”, “Mitsumata Letter”, and “Oriori-grass”, and serials like “Photographic Diary” (Figure 6), “Photo Sketch”, and “A Model House” were established.
Frequently published special issues each had different titles. A list of these special issues is available at the end of this paragraph. Everyday Life Pictorial had already attained huge success in the publication of special issues, and just before The Graphic was published, the Russo-Japanese War contributed to a deluge of pictorial magazines, one after another. The Graphic's featured stories included those that focused specifically on the magazine's intended readers, like “The Summer Vacation Issue” and “The Car Issue,” as well as those focused on topics of general interest, such as the Imperial household, expos, and natural disasters.
- Special Edition: Great Osaka Fire Pictorial (Osaka Conflagration Number) (Volume 1, Issue 16)
- The Vogue Issue (Volume 1, Issue 19)
- Crown Prince Tōgū's Visit to the Hokuriku Region Pictorial (Volume 1, Issue 20)
- Special Edition: Special Large-Scale Practice Pictorial (Volume 1, Issue 22)
- ThreeMagazines Combination Number: The Commemorative Year of Nagoya Competitive Exhibition Pictorial (Volume 2, Issue 9)
- Special Edition: Commemoration of Japan-British Exhibition, Japan the Exponent (Volume 2, Issue 11)
- Tokyo Flood Pictorial (Volume 2, Issue 18)
- Colonization of Hokkaidō Pictorial (Volume 2, Issue 21)
- Special Edition: Japan's Korea (Extra)
- Shinnen zōkan Nihon no bijin 新年増刊日本の美人 (Volume 3, Issue 2)
- The Yoshiwara Conflagration Issue (Volume 3, Issue 10)
- The Summer Vacation Issue (Volume 3, Issue 15)
- Special Edition: Crown Prince Tōgū's Visit to the Hokuriku Region Pictorial (Volume 3, Issue 20)
- Special Edition: Marriage Pictorial (Volume 3, Issue 24)
- Special Edition: Current World (Extra)
- The Chinese Revolution Issue (Volume 3, Issue 27)
- The Car Issue (Volume 4, Issue 5)
The advertisements in any magazine can provide information about the social class of that magazine's readers, as well as the society at that time (Figure 7).The Graphic had many travel advertisements; those of the Imperial Government Railway often even included a time table, indicating that the intended audience of the magazine belonged to those social classes which could afford to take vacations. These advertisements also hint at the kinds of places where The Graphic was read. They make us think about where people might have enjoyed casually browsing, rather than carefully reading, such a large-sized magazine. We should pay attention to the reading spaces at stations, on trains, and in the hotels and summer resorts which emerged along with the construction of the railroads.
What is the objective of reprinting The Graphic and making the magazine visible to us again? First, needless to say, we can learn about Japan during the late Meiji period. Secondly, it makes us aware of the fact that what was recorded in photographs was not exactly “Japan during the Meiji period” as it was. We can trace in detail how, during the rise of amateur photography, photographs captured the society over these three years, in accordance with the intentions of the editors. The discussion of the history of graphic magazines has usually begun with the daily Asahi Graph, first published on January 25, 1923. From now on, however, we must push this date back at least fourteen years.
Kinoshita Naoyuki is Professor of Art History and Cultural Resources Studies at the University of Tokyo.
Gurahikku Engei グラヒック演芸.
The first issue contained an article called “The Purpose of Publication and Characteristics [of The Theatre Graphic].” The article begins with the sentence: “Useful and entertaining, pictorial magazines are booming. By looking at our magazine, you can not only satisfy your needs but also entertain yourself. There will be no other magazines as useful as ours. This is why our magazine was born.” The article claimed that the magazine aspired to achieve the challenging task of combining entertainment and refinement, with the goal of making the magazine like Western theatrical magazines such as the French Theatre. The editor and publisher, the place of publication, and the fixed price of 15 sen were the same as The Graphic. The English title of the magazine was The Theatre Graphic.
The reprint of Gurahikku Tokubetsu Zōkan Nihon No Chōsen グラヒック特別増刊日本之朝鮮 is available in Jesuru Jan 張在述, Nihon Teikoku Kankoku heigō shinryaku gahō shashinshi 日本帝国韓国併合侵略画報写真史(Karafuto Yokuryū Kikan Kankokujin Kai, 1973; not for sale).
Nagamine Shigetoshi 長嶺思敏, Zasshi to dokusha no kindai 雑誌と読者の近代 (Nihon Editā Sukūru Shuppanbu, 1997). See also Suzuki Sadami 鈴木貞美, “Meijiki “Taiyō” no enkaku, oyobi ichi 明治期『太陽』の沿革、および位置,” and Ōwada Shigeru 大和田茂 “'Taiyō' sōkangō no hankyō『太陽』創刊号の反響」,” in Suzuki Sadami 鈴木貞美, ed., Zasshi “Taiyō” to kokumin bunka no keisei 雑誌『太陽』と国民文化の形成 （Shibunkaku Shuppan, 2001).
中村弥二郎 initially ran a business for lending and selling books through his store called Benridō in Kyoto. He soon began selling magazines and books as well. Then, he expanded his business to publishing, and in 1893 he published Fukushima chūsa Shiberia tanki ōdan kikan kangeika 福島中佐シベリア単騎横断帰還歓迎歌. In the late 1890's and early 1900's, he invested his energy in selling postcards. In 1901, he handed over Benridō and left for Tokyo. After that, Benridō developed into a publisher of art prints and art books, and continues to be so today.
See Sugimura Takeshi 杉村武 “Kantō daishinsai no toshi 関東大震災の年,” in Uno Hiroshi 宇野博, ed., Asahi gurafu ni miru shōwa zenshi. 001 アサヒグラフに見る昭和前史（一）(Asahi Shimbunsha, 1975), and Soeno Tsutomu 添野勉, “Nikkan shashin shimbun 'Asahi gurafu' no chōsen to zasetsu 日刊写真新聞『アサヒグラフ』の挑戦と挫折, in Dai nikai Takeo shō dezainshi kenkyū ronbun jushō sakuhinshū 第二回竹尾賞デザイン史研究論文受賞作品集 (Kabushiki Gaisha Takeo And Kabushiki Gaisha Takeo Kenkyūsho, 2003).
As for Naniwa Photo Club, see illustrations in Namiten: Naniwa Shashin Kurabu sōritsu 100-shūnen kinen 浪華写真倶楽部創立一○○周年記念「浪展」(Naniwa Shashin Kurabu, 2005). Also, The First Tokyo ten at Ginza Shiseidō between August 3, 1923, and 6 was promoted by Mori Ippei and Fukuhara Shinzō.
Mori Aiken's biography, according to Taishū jinjiroku 大衆人事録, 14 ed. (Teikoku Himitsu Tanteisha, 1943): “Chief of a prefectoral branch of Taisei Yokusankai (Imperial Rule Assistance Association), President of Nagoya Newspaper Company, Director of Dōmei Tsūshinsha (Dōmei News Agency), The eldest son of Shintani Eitarō of Okayama prefecture. Born in June, 1877, heir to the Mori family estate. Studied at Tokyo Professional College. Served as a reporter for Hakubunkan's The Sun, employed at Mitsui Bank Yasuda Hozen Company, Manager and Director of interior and exterior industrial enterprise at Yasuda Sōko (Yasuda Warehouse), Osaka, and director of the Tōkai branch of Nihon Hōsō Kyōkai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). And, according to Shimbun jinmeikan 新聞人名鑑 (Shimbun No Shimbunsha ed., 1930): “(Pen name) Ichihandō (一半洞), director of Nagoya Newspaper Company (address and so forth omitted hereinafter), he was born on June 10, 1877. After graduating from Tokyo Professional College (currently Waseda University), he worked as a manager at Yasuda Shōji Kaisha Osaka Sōko (Yasuda Trading Company, Osaka Warehouse). He is now a director of Nagoya Chūō Hōsōkyoku (Nagoya Central Broadcasting Station) [...] His hobbies include photography and playing golf,”
See Iizawa Kōtarō飯沢耕太郎, “Geijutsu shashin” to sono jidai 『芸術写真』とその時代 (Chikuma Shōbō, 1986) and collection of exhibited works in Nihon no pikutoriarizumu: fūkei eno manazashi 日本のピクトリアリズム－風景へのまなざし (Tokyo-to Shashin Bijutsukan, 1992).
Mori Aiken released an essay called “Kaiga to shashin tono tokui no ryōiki 絵画と写真との特異の領域 ,Special field of drawings and photographs” in no. 88 of Shashinkai teiki zōkan shashin reidaishū 写真界定期増刊写真例題集 (volume 7 issue 15) under the pen name of Nagahyō (長瓢).
“Narashino onryōchi ni okeru usagigari習志野御猟地に於ける兎狩 (Rabbit Hunting at the Narashino Hunting Site)” (volume 2 issue 4) was a photograph taken by the technician, Mr. Matsushita while on a photo-taking excursion. The photos in Colonization of Hokkaidō Pictorial (volume 2 issue 21) were taken by Aiken and Ishizu Gessen (there was a joint acknowledgement at the end of the magazine with both their names). Additionally, Gessen was a friend of Aiken from their time together at Naniwa Photo Club.
Nagamine Shigetoshi永嶺重敏 examines reading spaces at stations, on trains, and in hotels and summer resorts in his book ““Dokusho kokumin” no tanjō <読書国民>の誕生 (Nihon Editā Sukūru Shuppanbu, 2004), in the chapter titled “旅中無聊の産業化 Ryochū buryō no sangyōka (The Industrialization of a Traveler's Free Time).”