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The Far East - Scarce, Complete run of the first year 1870-71 (24 issues)

with over 120 original photographs

The Far East - Scarce, Complete run of the first year 1870-71 (24 issues) with over 120 original photographs
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The Far East - Scarce, Complete run of the first year 1870-71 (24 issues) with over 120 original photographs

[BLACK] (John Reddie). editor. The Far East. An Illustrated Fortnightly Newspaper. First series. First edition. Vol. 1, nos. I-XXIV (1-24) dated May 30th, 1870 to May 16th, 1871 with 126 original mounted albumen photographs. Folio. 

 

Having toured India and the Far East as a singer, John Reddie Black (1826-1880) arrived in Nagasaki in July 1864 and in the following year joined forces with Albert Hansard to become a newspaper publisher. In 1870 (inspired by the success of the ‘China Magazine’ published in Hong Kong by Langdon Davies), Black decided to launch ’The Far East’ magazine, the first newspaper in Japan to be illustrated with original photographs. It was published twice a month and the present is a full run of its first year in publication. None of the albumen prints are credited, but many were taken by the Austrian, Michael Moser (1853-1912), who arrived in Japan as part of the Austro-Hungarian expedition the the Far East in 1869 as well as some by Black himself. They form a superb record of Japanese life just after the country opened up to the West. They are particularly interesting in that they record events that were often ignored by main-stream photographers, as well as documenting the establishment of foreign trade in the early Meiji period.  

 

Each issue is divided into three sections, starting with a feature article followed by a detailed description of each photograph, and ending with local news, including sports and important news from China. The Far East was issued in a total of seven volumes from May 1870 to August 1875. A further five volumes were issued in the New Series, published in Shanghai between 1876-1878. Excessively rare. In the July 1st, 1873 issue, Black said that he was surprised how "important" the journal had become to subscribers, many of whom carefully bound the issues and requested back copies; the first volume was completely out of print and "commanding a very considerable premium." So, even in 1873, the earlier issues from 1870 were very scarce.  See Bennett: Photography in Japan 1853-1912 (p148). It is highly unlikely another complete run of the first year in such good condition will appear on the market anytime soon.

 

Yokohama, Japan Gazette. 1870-71. 292pp. 28.6 x 21.6cm.

 

Rebound in half red morocco, gilt stamp “Japan Society London” on top board, light browning and occasional creasing to paper, but overall a very good copy with superb albumen photographs of various sizes. nb36020010

 

The Far East - Scarce, Complete run of the first year 1870-71 (24 issues)

Price: ¥4,950,000




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