Fair Japan - Optimistic Version
Taikosha Collotypes

Optimistic Version

Helmuth, William Tod (Poetry)
Poole, O.A. & O.M. (Photographs)
Taikosha (Collotypes):
Fair Japan - Optimistic Version, "Verses by William Tod Helmuth, Negatives by O.A. & O.M. Poole, Collotypes by Taikosha," Yokohama, Kelly and Walsh (70 Main Street, Yokohama), not dated but ca 1900, small 18mo (4 1/4 x 5  1/2 in - 14.2 x 10.5 cm), string tied, 9 black and white collotype plates, 22 unnumbered pages. The book is printed on thick card-like paper with all edges in gilt.

The 9 collotype photos are each on the left-hand page and a corresponding verse of poetry on the right-hand page. The first two pages have no illustrations, just a complete poem. The poetry/verses relate to Japan and the associated plates.

This book was also produced with collotypes by Taikosha rather than K. (Kazumasa) Ogawa. Perhaps Taikosha was an assumed name for Ogawa. However, I have never seen it associated with Ogawa. I have not seen hand colored plates in a Taikosha book.

William Tod Helmuth (1833-1902) was a noted American homeopathic physician/surgeon, poet and writer (primarily but not exclusively medical). I find no evidence that he was actually in Japan. However, in 1893 he published an article in the North American Journal of Homeopathy titled "A Glance at Japanese Medicine, Ancient and Modern." He obviously had an interest in Japan. In 1892 Dr. Helmuth authored a very similar book (with his poetry) accompanied with photographs by F. Jay Haynes titled Yellowstone Park and How It Was Named. Haynes was an early and influential western photographer (much along the line of K. Ogawa in Japan) who, in 1884, became the first officially designated Yellowstone National Park photographer. For more information on this book, click here here.

O.M. & O.A. Poole. Otis Augustus Poole was a longtime foreign resident of Japan. There is a wonderful autobiographical letter by his son, Otis Manchester Poole, on-line here. O.A. Poole and his family arrived in Japan in May of 1888 relocating from Chicago. Otis Manchester Poole (the O.M. Poole), also mentioned on the title page, was his son. They took up residence at 89 Bluff in Yokohama which remained the family home for 30 years. O.A. Poole was in the tea business and this required multiple residences and extensive traveling. It is clear that both O.A. Poole and his son (O.M.) were avid travelers and photographers. Otis A. Poole retired in 1926 and, at the age of 79, relocated to Berkeley, California. He died on April l, 1929 and his ashes were buried with his wife in Yokohama. Otis Manchester Poole returned from Japan to New Jersey in July of 1932. O.M. Poole's letter is dated May, 1964. It contains an excellent first hand account of the great earthquake that devastated Yokohama and Tokyo on September 1,1923.

Otis Manchester Poole and the Earthquake of 1923. O.M. Poole was in Yokohama and lived through the great earthquake of September 1, 1923. He recorded his recollections of Yokohama and the quake in a narrative which was published in 1968. For more information on that book, click here.


Title Page


Left Page:
Oh, fair Japan; Oh, rare Japan;
Thou land of ancient trees,
Where lotus Blooms fringe thy paths
And Perfume every breeze.
Where lilies bend ther fragrant heads
To kiss thy plashing streams,
And dark-skinn'd Musumes, almond eyed,
Wake long forgotten dreams.
Thy hiss, crown capp'd with sacred groves!
Inclose thy gilded shrines;
In grottos where the iris blooms.
Droop sweet wisteria vines.

Right Page:
Mysterious languor seems to hang
o'er mountain, plain and rill;
An unreality of life,
Does all the senses fill.
Thine ancient shrines to Buddha blest,
Glinted with golder fire
Proclaim a soul sustaining rest,
And ecstacy inspire.
Oh! sweet it is to dwell with thee
"Land of the Rising Sun," --
Where beauty, age and mystery
Combine themselves in one.

Right Page:
Where lotus blossoms fringe thy paths
And perfume every breeze.

Right Page:
Where lilies bend their fragrant heads
To kiss thy plashing streams.

Right Page:
And dark-skinn'd Musumes, almond eyed,
Wake long forgotten dreams.

Right Page:
Thy hills, crown capp'd with sacred groves
Inclose thy gilded shrines;

Right Page:
In grottos where the iris blooms.

Right Page:
Droop sweet wisteria vines.

Right Page:
Mysterious languor seems to hang
O'er mountain, plain and rill;

Right Page:
Thine ancient shrines to Buddha blest,
Glinted with golder fire.

Right Page:
Oh; sweet it is to dwell with thee!
"Land of the Rising Sun."

Illustrations on Back Covers:

This is the Optimistic Version


Go to the Pessimistic Version

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