Zenkichi's mother's funeral

Of the oldest photos in the farmhouse collection, two stood out in particular.  They were both taken on the day of Zenkichi’s mother’s death in Meiji 43 (1910).  In an era when photos were so rare, I found it very interesting that her funeral was documented.  The funeral photo shows the front facade of the farmhouse as it was over 100 years ago.  I find this photo striking in that is isn’t a posed photo, as would be expected of the time.  It captures the movement, mood, and overall feeling of the moment.  This photo is also particularly compelling in that Zenkichi wrote of his mother’s passing in his memoir, in what is one of the more heart wrenching passages. 

Our misfortune came again as report from Japan my dear mother’s death. She was weak long time, still not very old in age so it was unexpected sad news to me. I held the private memorial service with brothers and intimate friend, later I got a letter from my sister who attended mother’s deathbed. Mother wanted see me, her eldest son, so bad. “If there is no Pacific Ocean she will walk even one year to see my son.” I thought of my unfilial past, my sorrow was very, very deep.

The other photo taken on this day was a photo of the farmhouse taken from across the rice fields at the Kurodasuke shrine.  The tori gate of the shrine marks the spot the photographer stood quite clearly.  I recreated this photo to the best of my ability, standing in the same spot, 105 years later.