Sunday, January 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

Each time I look at the photographs in the album, I am drawn to this particular image. I love the way directional quality of the composition. The path and the trees seem to point to the lone figure walking away. I wish I could see more of the landscape. What's over the horizon? Where is that person going? What's behind the photographer? Is the rest of the landscape as barren as this photograph would suggest? What's the relationship of the photographer to the person in the photograph? So many questions from such a simple, yet beautiful image.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sharing the Album

Over the holidays, my dad saw the Japanese photo album for the first time. My mom and I were surprised that he hadn't seen it before. We also looked through my grandfather's albums. As we were looking at the "autograph" page, my mom remembers visiting some of my grandfather's fellow CBs when she was young. It was kind of neat.

A friend of mine at work has a Japanese mother. I knew he had some sort of Asian background, but I didn't think to ask if it was Japanese. I believe his mother was from Yokohama and she moved here after marrying a U.S. soldier. I'm going to scan the pages of the album for her. Hopefully she'll be able to translate the names because I'm at a is apparent from the lack of posts to this site.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dear Visitor

I would like to know what you think about this project. Please leave a comment and let me know where you are from, how you found the page and any other interesting information about yourself. Send this link to your friends. The more people who see it, the better.

Thank you!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen

This is a photograph of a mausoleum in China. At first, I assumed it was a Japanese structure. I was able to translate the first three characters as CHU SAN RYO. That didn't help much, but RYO further translated into "misasagi" or "imperial mausoleum." I did a Google search and came across a photo that matches. This has got to be the same building as the building in the background of the black and white photo. I presume this to be the mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the father of China's revolution. Construction on the mausoleum was started in 1926 and completed in 1929. The mausoleum is situated at the foot of the second peak of Mount Zijin in Nanjing, China. The architect was Lu Yanzhi, who died shortly after it was finished.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

6 Degrees of Separation

The head of my department at work (I'll call him Mr. G) gave me a great idea the other day. He suggested that I locate a Japanese veteran's administration. Mr. G is a history and geneaology buff and has done scads of research on his ancestors. We swap stories now and then and often find ourselves pondering at the smallness of this world. Mrs. G is from a small Menonite town in Virginia, a few miles from where my parents once lived. The town has a wonderful Farmer's Market and I've probably spent hundreds of dollars at the quilt shop there (in my pre-knitting days). However, I digress...

Upon Mr. G's suggestion that I locate a Japanese veteran's administration, I quickly fired up Google and set about searching....with not much luck. Actually, not any luck. The language barrier is just that, a barrier. I've had plenty of good ideas, but I feel I'm still at square one. I'm open to more suggestions and ideas.

This album is too beautiful to sit upon a shelf in my home. I'm not the album's owner, only it's caretaker. The owner is out there somewhere. Please send the link to this blog to everyone you know. Remember the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon game that circulated around a while back? If that theory holds true, I'm only 6 people away from the owner of this album.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Orphan Photos

I found an interesting web site the other night. Actually, a friend sent me the link. It's It sounds a bit strange, but the idea behind the site is very cool. Have you ever seen a pile of orphan photographs in a basket at an antique shop? Have you ever wondered how those family members ended up alone like that? With the Dead Fred web site, users can upload orphan photos along with any information they have about the photo. Sometimes it's just the name of a photographer, sometimes the photo has names written on the back, dates, etc. The database is searchable so anyone can go to the site and search by surname, location, or any number of fields. I may post a couple photos from the album out there. Somehow this album needs to find it's true home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Maybe A Chinese Soldier?

From what I can translate from the book I got at the library, the characters for Water and China are next to this photo. The writing in the album is very small and translating based on comparing images is beyond difficult.

If anyone knows what this says, please leave a comment. Thank you!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mt. Fuji from Misakatoge

This is one of my favorite (non-portrait) photographs in the album. I gently removed the photo and was surprised to find "Mt. Fuji from Misakatoge" stamped on the back above Japanese printing. I'll have to carefully look under the other photos. I'm betting that this photo was purchased as a souvenir. It's only about 3"x2" in size, but I like it.

The following excerpt is the only English language reference I could find to Misakatoge on Google. All other references are in Japanese and I'm finding translation difficult.

"Japan as Seen and Described by Famous Writers"
By Esther Singleton
"I must pass all too rapidly over the day during which we crossed the range into the next valley, by the Misakatoge pass, of which nothing was known by Europeans, and very little could be learnt from the Japanese. Suffice it to say that the view of a deep valley between wooded mountains, with a dashing river shining green along its wide bed of white stones, seen through a dazzling foreground of pink and white azalea, was one which for beauty, I have never seen surpassed."

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Visitors from Flickr

I joined several World War II groups on Flickr, hoping to steer traffic to this site. Please add a comment if you are visiting. Your comments are most welcome!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Japanese Imperial Family

Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako with their children. Their eldest son, Akihito, is pictured in the center. Hirohito was Emperor of Japan from 1926 until his death in 1989. The Dowager Empress Nagako died in 2000 at the age of 97.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

I was able to get the characters on this page translated. The boy in the back is Mitsugu Yoshitake, the young boy is Yasuo and the girl is Kinue. I have not been able to locate their names in the research I've done thus far.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Vice Admiral Shin-Ichi Ichinose


The characters written under this photograph were translated as Vice-Admiral Shin-ichi Ichinose.

According to Wikipedia he led the 26th Special Base Force that was disbanded in late WWII. It was an Imperial Navy detachment located at Halmahera Island (Dutch West Indies).

Very little can be found online about the Vice Admiral and the 26th Special Base Force.

Who am I?

I assume this is the owner of the photo album. My assumption is based on the fact that there are several photos of this young man alone and with others. I can't get over how young these men look.

Clarence Beck

Information about my grandfather, who found the album:
Clarence Royal Beck
Enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 10, 1942
Honorably Discharged on December 14, 1944
Machinist Mate First Class
26th Navy Construction Battalion
Born July 26, 1905 Cloquet, Minnesota
Died November 24, 1989 Harrisonburg, Virginia

Friday, August 24, 2007

World War II - Guadalcanal

My grandfather, Clarence Beck, served in the Navy during World War II. While he was stationed at Guadalcanal, he found a photo album. He brought the album back to the U.S. with the intention of one day trying to find the album's owner. My grandfather has since passed away and the album is now in my care.

This album is a treasure and there's a family out there who has no idea of its existence. It's time for this album to find its home. I will post as many photos as possible. Translations and assistance are very welcome.

There is not a single word written in a western alphabet, so I have not been able to translate the script. However, the parents of a friend of my son's were able to help with a few names. It's a start. The names Ichinose and Yoshitake are mentioned. I will add more information in my next post.