Japanese Photo Album

Rare Photographs from the 1930's.

22nd September 2017

Japanese SoldiersThese images are from a rare and fascinating Japanese photograph album which was recently acquired at auction by the Tank Museum’s Archive and Library. 

The album is estimated to date from the late 1930s, though this is subject to further investigation. However, considering this estimated age the album is in very good condition with only slight boxing damage to the front cover with the first two pages loose. 

The album contains black and white photographs which feature a wide range of scenes including military personnel, armoured vehicles, tanks and groups of civilians who are most likely the families of the soldiers. Interestingly, the soldiers and civilians are photographed both in traditionally formal portraits complete with their swords and surprising informal, smiling snaps sitting on tables or caught mid laugh, taken around some form of camp. Of particular interest to the Archive are the soldiers who are seen wearing tank overalls.

The Archive and Library purchased this album as part of our active Collection Policy, which allows us to seek fill gaps in our knowledge and continue to diversify our collection. 

Japanese field gunAs most photographs feature neat handwritten captions in Japanese characters in blue pen, these captions have been sent to the Museum’s contacts in Japan for translation and to assist in the identification of the unit featured. It is hoped that, following its translation, this album and the information within will be used by our Exhibition team during our latest period of redisplay and development.

Following the identification of the unit and translation of the annotations featured, the museum intends to update this post, so stay tuned.