"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake. Charles Kenneth Lawyer.
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake
"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake

"‘QUITE A JAP” - Photo-Journal documenting an American teacher’s employment in Japan and the destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake

Tokyo, Himeiji Middle School: 1923-1925. Album. This album measures approximately 11” x 8” and has 24 leaves filled with over 160 photographs and real photo postcards. Most of the photos measure range in size between 6” x 4” and 1” x 1.25”. All are glued to the pages which also contain typed descriptions. The heavy card leaves are firmly attached to the black leather album by a string binding. The album has some wear at the edges. Overall, in very nice shape.

A registered letter, dated 12 Jan 24, from the “Finance Committee Earthquake Relief Fund” at Kobe is laid-in. The typed letter is on official Relief Fund stationery to which an “American Refugee Relief Committee” handstamp has been applied in purple. It was used to forward a check for “Yen 500” to compensate Lawyer for damages incurred during the Great Kanto Earthquake. The roughly opened envelope was addressed in both English and Japanese and franked with a brown 10s ‘sun and dragonflies’ stamp (Scott #186) that has been canceled with a circular Kobe postmark.

The photography and commentary in Lawyer's album are impressive; the images are well composed and capture life in Himeiji. Many are individually captioned. There are a number of photographs of

Lawyer, his friends, and fellow teachers, both American and Japanese in both western and Japanese clothing. In two self-portraits-one of which is captioned, “Quite a Jap”, Lawyer is posing in his hiyori geta sandals, tabi socks, casual yukata robe, and carrying a bullseye oil-paper janomegasa umbrella over his shoulder.

His house, landlord’s son, housekeeper, and dog. The Himeiji Middle School including its students and Lawyer’s classroom.

Many religious processions and festivals including priests, temples, temple musicians, shrines, pilgrims, etc.

Rice, hay, and bamboo farming to include plowing planting, irrigation, transplanting, chaff separation, flailing, threshing, harvesting, cutting, binding, etc.

Community scenes to include dog carts, noodle stands, gathering pine needles for fuel, peddlers, men hauling prodigious wagon loads, vat making, fish selling, laundering of kimonos, noodle making, Boy Scouts, movie theaters, shoemaking, vegetable selling, etc., and

A number of tourist scenes including Mt. Fuji, and travel by boat and train.

Most importantly, Lawyer has included about 15 vernacular images of the damage and destruction caused by the Great Kanto earthquake including the shell of the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, vast leveled business and residential areas, rubble (with the annotation, “dead . . . it was impossible to care for all of them properly”, a landslide, burned streetcars, a stream of refugees carrying all they could salvage upon their backs, an improvised refugee camp, assistance to a man with a heavily bandaged head (with the annotation “A common sight. Hundreds were blinded . . . and had to be helped or abandoned to a terrible death”), and more.

About 140,000 people were killed in the quake, mostly by fires including 38,000 who were incinerated at one time by a ‘fire tornado’ that struck the Rikugun Honjo Hifukusho (the former Army Clothing Depot) where they had taken shelter. In the days immediately following the earthquake, the Japanese people vented their angst upon the Korean subcommunity, massacring 6,000 to 10,000 before their bloodlust abated. Very good. Item #009675

Lawyer graduated from Knox College with a degree in Education and must have been immediately hired to teach English at the Himeiji Middle School. He returned to the United States in 1925 and obtained a master’s degree from Northwestern University. He subsequently earned a doctorate and became a professor at San Diego State University where he taught business management. Lawyer later moved to Texas where he lived at St. Jo, Harlingen, and Leander. Online records suggest he died around 2005.

Without a doubt, this is the nicest and most informative photograph album documenting an American’s view of Japanese life, and it is made all the more desirable by Lawyer’s vernacular photos and descriptions of the Great Kanto Earthquake’s aftermath. At the time of listing, there are no photograph albums or collections related to the earthquake for sale in the trade. Rare Book Hub and Worthpoint identify three albums with earthquake content that have appeared at auction. OCLC shows only one institutional holding of actual photographs (sever have digital images) and there is an album documenting the 1929 reconstruction of Yokohama at the National Baseball Hall of Fame; it was presented to a team of traveling Major League All-Stars in 1931.

Price: $900.00

See all items in Education, History, Photographs
See all items by