A Westerner’s Photographs of His Life in 1860s Japan

Dr Antoon Bauduin's photograph of imperial Japanese life

 A scene from a kabuki play … Theatre, circa 1865. Photograph: Rijksmuseum Staeske Rebers/Antoon Bauduin

A scene from a kabuki play … Theatre, circa 1865. Photograph: Rijksmuseum Staeske Rebers/Antoon Bauduin

From 1619 to 1859, the Netherlands became Japan’s only western trading partner. In 1862, Antoon Bauduin (1820-1885) was appointed by the Japanese to run and teach at a hospital in Nagasaki. For his personal pleasure, Bauduin took portraits and stereo views of many people he met there, including fellow physicians, students, friends and acquaintances, samurai in full armour and scenes around the city.

After working in Nagasaki for four years, he moved to Osaka and then Tokyo. Pictures of his farewell party show the Japanese custom of sending off esteemed guests with great fanfare.

It was only by good fortune that Antoon Bauduin’s photographs escaped destruction in a house fire. Luckily, they were saved and restored. They offer us a glimpse of Japan just as it was opening up its borders, revealing traditions in a changing landscape.

In 2016, Bauduin’s heirs transferred some 750 photographs to the Nagasaki University library and donated another set of 121 to the Rijksmuseum.


Japan 1860s

Japan 1865

View of Nagasaki Bay, c 1865

Japan 1865

Three farmers, c 1865

Japan 1865

Self-portrait with a Japanese colleague physician, c 1865

Hospital farewell party in Nagasaki, 1867

View over Osaka, c 1865-1875

Japan 1865

View of Sakurababa Valley from Irabayashi Hill outside Nagasaki, c 1865

Theatre, c 1865

Japan 1865

Portrait of two samurai, c 1865

Portrait of Albert Bauduin, c 1865

Japan 1865

Portrait of a man in samurai armour, c 1865-1870

Japan 1865

Portrait of a samurai, c 1865

Landscape near Nagasaki, c 1865

Isabella Toewater and her husband, Tjarko Beukema, c 1870-1875

Dutch cemetery, Inasa, Nagasaki, c 1865

Via: Rijksmuseum

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