Japan, Described and Illustrated
by the Japanese 1897~8
Brinkley, Frank (Captain) et. al.

Brinkley, Frank (Captain):
Japan, Described and Illustrated by the Japanese, Written By Eminent Japanese Authorities and Scholars, Boston, J.B. Millet Company, 1897~8, numerous editions (regular and deluxe formats) Folio (12 1 1/2 x 15+ in), decorative hard covers, decorative cord ties, table of contents at rear, 382 numbered pages of text, plates unnumbered. The books are organized into specific topics, covering Japanese festivals, history, customs, medieval Japan, etc. The number of full page plates varies depending on the edition (see bottom of this page for more informaiton). This page presents images of all full page collotype and color albumen photographs found in the various editions (regular and deluxe editions). A very few special editions may contain images not found on this page.

Full Page Plates

Flower Collotypes by K. Ogawa

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Volume IV

Volume V

Volume VI

Volume VII

Volume VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Five K. Ogawa flower collotypes below are normally not found in
10 volume sets.

Section XI
(15 Section Set)

Section XII
(15 Section Set Only)

Section XIII
(15 Section Set Only)

Section XIV
(15 Section Set)

Section XV
(15 Section Set Only)


Hand Colored Albumen Photographs

Volume I

Mount Fuji as Seen from Kashiwabara

The Bronze Buddha at Kamakura


Volume II

Street Vendor of Flowers


Bridge at Arashiyama Near Kyoto

Volume III

Sacred Bridge at Nikko

Interior of Nobleman's Palace

A Tea-House Restaurant in Kyoto

Volume IV

A Group of Boys and Girls

Grocery and Fruit Shop

A Geisha

Volume V

Bamboo Grove Near Kyoto


Teaching Songs

Volume VI


Tattooed Postman

Wistaria at Kameido Temple Tokyo

Volume VII

  • Lotus Flowers at Kamakura

  • One Hundred Steps at Yokohama

  • A Koto Player

    Volume VIII

    The Nikko Road

    Writing a Letter

  • A Funeral Procession

    Volume IX

    Receiving a Guest

    Arranging Flowers

    Workmen's Holiday

    Volume X

    Great Bell at Chion-in Temple, Kyoto

    Theatrical Performance

    Mangwanji Temple at Nikko

  • Volume I (Deluxe Editions Only)

    Buddhist Priests

    Dancing Girls

    Wood Carving

    Volume II (Deluxe Editions Only)

    Dressing a Doll

    Yomei-mon at Nikko

    Wood Carvings in Yomei-mon at Nikko

    Volume III (Deluxe Editions Only)

    A Tokyo Beauty

    Lantern Makers

    Cherry Blossoms at Koganei

    Volume IV (Deluxe Editions Only)

    O-Suwa Park at Nagasaki


    Mat Makers

    Volume V (Deluxe Editions Only)

    Stone Torii at O-Suwa Temple, Nagasaki

    Interior Chionin Temple at Kyoto

    Second-hand Clothing Shop

    Volume VI (Deluxe Editions Only)

    Washing Rice at the Well

    Peony Garden

    The Yoshiwara in Tokyo

    Volume VII (Deluxe Editions Only)

    An Itinerant Merchant

    Planting a Rice Field


    Volume VIII (Deluxe Editions Only)

    Japanese Shoes

    A Street of Shops

    Entrance to Inari Temple at Kyoto

    Volume IX (Deluxe Editions Only)

    Porcelain and Pottery Shops

    The Sea Goddess Benten

    A Japanese Farmhouse

    Volume X (Deluxe Editions Only)

    Washing Kimonos

    House Boat

    Village Wrecked by Earthquake

    Color Woodblock (Xylograph) Reproductions of Japanese Paintings found at the back in "Deluxe Editions"

    Volume I.    A Painting of the Nara Epoch, Eighth Century
    Volume II.   A Painting a Kose School, Tenth Century
    Volume III.  A Painting of the Kasuga School, Eleventh Century
    Volume IV.   A Painting of the Kamakura Epoch, Twelfth Century
    Volume V.    Another Painting of the Kamakura Epoch, Thirteenth Century
    Volume VI.   A Painting of the Ashikaga Epoch, Fourteenth Century
    Volume VII.  A Painting of the Kano School, Sixteenth Century
    Volume VIII. A Painting of the Early Tokugawa Epoch, Seventeenth Century
    Volume IX.   A Painting by Itcho, 1652-1724
    Volume X.    A Painting by Keibun, 1778-1843


    General Comments Regarding the Brinkley Book Sets.

    • Regular and Deluxe Formats. The set was issued in two basic formats described below.

      Regular/standard format editions normally have 10 volumes containing 10 Kazumasa Ogawa color collotypes of flowers (frontispiece to each volume) and 30 hand colored albumen photographs tipped to plate (3 per volume). They also have 200+ text illustrations which are half-tone black and white and printed directly on the page. The set was also issued as a 15 section series with decorative card wraps. This is a variant of the standard 10 volume set. It does contain 5 more Ogawa color collotypes of flowers and lithographic replicas of the silk screens.

      Deluxe format editions of this series contain the same 10 Ogawa color collotypes of flowers (frontispiece to each volume) and 60 hand colored plates (6 per volume - image 8 x 10 inch generally). Thirty of the plates are identical to those found in the 10 volume series and 30 are different. In addition, the text illustrations (image 3 1/2 x 5 in) in the deluxe format volumes, of which there are 200, are also hand colored tipped in albumen photographs with captions printed on the page directly below the illustration. The collotypes and albumen photographs plates are mounted on colored paper and have a colored mat affixed to the page. The deluxe editions also have 10 color/xylograph plates reproducing Japanese Paintings and some editions contain 10 (20) color plates with actual Japanese art work (ie paintings on silk, watercolors, color woodblocks, mono-color stencil prints on silk as used in printing fabrics).


    • Various Editions/Number of Sets Produced. There were numerous editions of both standard and deluxe format editions. Those I am aware of can be found listed here. I have accounted for 1,425 deluxe/limited edition book sets (12 different editions) and there probably were more. For standard or regular editions I have accounted for 3,075+ sets across 4 different edition. Further there is no quantity stated for the 15 section set.

      Sebastian Dobson in Art & Artifice, Japanese Photographs of the Meiji Era, states:

      During the years of 1897 and 1898, the work was published in various limited editions, and for fourteen of the sixteen editions produced we know that 151,500 large-format photographs and 254,000 small-format photographs were hand-colored and later tipped into 37,750 individual volumes. (at page 33-34) (Author's footnote refers to Denise Bethel, "The J.B. Millet Company's Japan: Described and Illustrated by the Japanese," Image, volume 34, numbers 1-2 (1991): 3-32)

      Since the small-format photographs were only placed in deluxe edition sets and each set would have 200 of them, that would mean 1,270 sets of deluxe editions with 10 volumes each (245,000/200). This is relatively close to my accounting of 1,425 sets. Using the Bethel number of total large plates (151,500), I calculate a total of 2,510 standard editions (151,500-85,500 [large plates in deluxe editions = 60 per set x 1,425 sets = 85,500] = 66,000/30 [30 large plates in regular editions] = 2,200 sets of standard/regular editions). I have accounted for 3,075 sets, a third more than the quoted number 151,500 would support. The figure of large format plates was probably more like 175,000 - 200,000.

    • Covers/Bindings. In the 10 volume sets the cover are decorative cloth (linen) over heavy boards. Each volume in a set has matching decorative patterns but different color schemes. The standard edition sets have pasted on titles while the deluxe edition sets have the title printed on the cloth. All 10 volume sets have cord ties. The cord ties are decorative only and not essential for holding the books together. Internally, the pages are firmly bound together at the inside margins with staples, string and glue. The covers on the 15 section set are decorative card stock with the same logo and color.

    • Source of Color Albumen Photographs. Terry Bennett, in his book Early Japanese Images, identifies Kozaburo Tamamura as the source of the colored albumen photographs used in these book sets. He states that Tamamura provided 180,000 photographs to a dealer in Boston which were "undoubtedly" provided for the Brinkley books (see page 52). Tamamura was a famous photographer and serviced the tourist souvenir photograph trade in Japan as well as the export trade. It is clear that many of the photographs supplied were from his inventory. However, it is also clear that he used photographs taken by other famous Japanese photographers. Many of the albumen photographs were from Kazumasa Ogawa, who also provided the color flower collotypes for the books. Notice the similarity between the Brinkley color albumen photograph titled "A Tokyo Beauty" (Volume III, "De luxe" Edition) and a K. Ogawa collotype from Celebrated Geysha of Tokyo published ca 1892. For more information on the Geysha book, click here.

      The problem with attributing the photographs to a particular photographer is the lack of credits on the photographs or in the books.

    • Text Illustrations. The text illustrations in the standard format editions (black and white halftone printed directly on the page) and those in the deluxe edition formats (tipped in colored albumen photographs) are not the same. Basically, a different set of the 200+ in text illustrations was used in the two formats. Since neither set of text illustrations actually depicted the associated text, it really does seem to matter. It my opinion, they were pretty much added at random to enhance the visual appearance of the books.

    • American Color Illustrated Book. Technically speaking, these books are often classified as an "19th century American color illustrated" books. While the collotypes and hand colored albumen photographs were imported from Japan, the books were printed, assembled and distributed in the United States.

    • Illustrated Discussions of Various Sets on this site.

      •  10 Volume "Edition De Luxe" deluxe type edition is here.
      •  10 Volume "Yedo" standard type edition is here.
      •  15 Section card stock cover set is here.
      •  Composite view of full page collotypes and albumen photographs in the standard and deluxe sets here.
      •  Individual K. Ogawa color flower collotypes marketed by Millet Co. here.

    • Related Pictorial Arts Set Published in 1901/2.

      •  The Art of Japan, Pictorial Art, Volume 1, Deluxe Edition here.

    To return to the Kazumasa Ogawa webpage, click here.

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    Special Interest Books/Art:
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        ~ Colored Albumen Photographs (from Brinkley Books)
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