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Hiroshi Hiraoka (Japanese Baseball Pioneer) Photo as Student in America?

George Schot

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Hello,

I am in the process of researching the history of a American family who was connected with the hosting of a number of Chinese and Japanese students in the 1870s in within the United States.

I've already identified several Chinese student photos connected with the Chinese government student program as mentioned on this site:

CEM Connections - HOME

I also have several photos of Japanese students connected with a similar Japanese government program of this same time period.

I am trying to determine if the first Japanese student photo that I am working on is Hiroshi Hiraoka or not. Hiroshi Hiraoka (1856-1933) came the U.S. in 1871 to learn railway engineering and returned to Japan in 1877 where he proceeded to promote the growth the baseball by various means. Some refer to him as the "Father of Japanese Baseball".

I've posted images of the back and front of a 1870s photo that I am currently working at this url:

Baseball

The name on the back of the image is spelled slightly different (Heiroshi Heiraoka); however, this may be due to how the host family chose to translate and the name into English (part of the student's training was to learn English). Several of the Chinese students I've identified from the above mentioned site have upwards of 5-7 different alternative spellings of their name.

I'd also be interested in any information in the costume and sword. Most of the student photos have the names of photo studios from New England; however, this one does not, so it may have been taken in Japan prior to the student's arrival. Also keep in mind that people, including children, often looked older than their actual age due to the harsher conditions then.

Please note this is a copyrighted image from my personal collection with all rights reserved.

Thank You for your help!
 

Toritoribe

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The costume is a formal wear haori and hakama, and the sward seems like wakizashi.
 

George Schot

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The costume is a formal wear haori and hakama, and the sward seems like wakizashi.
The costume is a formal wear haori and hakama, and the sward seems like wakizashi.
Thank You!

Hopefully I will be able to pick up some additional information from the photo once I've had a chance to do a high resolution scan @ 2400ppi+ as opposed to a quick shot with my Canon T2i.
 

Mike Cash

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Please note this is a copyrighted image from my personal collection with all rights reserved.
On what basis do you claim copyright?
 

George Schot

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On what basis do you claim copyright?
Under international copyright law the original image is in public domain due to its age. Upon creating a photo or scan of this image I create a new copyrighted work. I've not had time time do a detailed scan and restoration of the image on a pixel by pixel basis, such as removing the paper foxing; however, once that is done the resulting image will also be a new copyrighted work. As this was image given to a family member involved in the hosting of Chinese & Japanese students in the 1870s it is likely the only remaining copy of the image left, thus for anyone to legally use this image, other than myself, they will have to find another original 1870s image like the one I own or license the image from its owner (which would be me).
 
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George Schot

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You might try contacting this museum in Japan:
The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Perhaps there's someone in Japan who has another photo of him at a similar age to compare.
Thanks. I've done that.

Hopefully, they will have access to a English translator for my email :0)

I was able to find a pdf document online that lists the Japanese students living in the Boston area from 1871-1876 with street addresses that I may able to trace down to specific American families. The first part appears to be in Japanese while the second is in English. Hiroshi is #10 on the list. Very nice find :0)

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jeigakushi1969/1999/31/1999_31_111/_pdf
 

Mike Cash

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Are you familiar with derivative works? I doubt you'd have any luck successfully claiming copyright just for restoration.

Derivative work - Wikipedia
 

George Schot

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Are you familiar with derivative works? I doubt you'd have any luck successfully claiming copyright just for restoration.

Derivative work - Wikipedia
I would tend to disagree based upon my past experience of licensing items from my photo collection, but then I generally leave that stuff for the lawyers.

The first sentence of that article states:

"In copyright law, a derivative work is an expressive creation that includes major copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work (the underlying work)."

Nothing about the original 1870s image in my possession is copyrighted any longer. Creating a new photo of the item immediately creates a new copyrighted work. Scanning the work also creates a new copyrighted work. "Restoration" actually involves digitizing the image on a scanner and then carefully, on a pixel by pixel, basis altering the initial scan to make a suitable looking image regardless of whether it actually looks the original - actually it probably looks much better than the original. This typically involves the use of a Wacom tablet, or a similar device, for the manual redrawing of missing or damages areas of the image.

A derivative work would be created if someone took a image I created from the said image and then altered it and used it for their own purpose since they would be violating the copyright of the newly created work.
 

Mike Cash

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So all I have to do to own the copyright to the Mona Lisa is to go take a picture of it? An art restorer who cleans the grime off a centuries old painting gets the copyright of the painting? If I go down to the library and scan Huckleberry Finn I own the copyright?

See paragraphs 22-24:
BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY, LTD. v. COREL CORP., 36 F. Supp. 2d 191 (S.D.N.Y. 1999)

Simple exercising of technical skill is not sufficient to establish copyright.

Go ahead and claim and assert copyright all you want, but the likelihood that you would be upheld if you ever tried to enforce it is miniscule.
 

WonkoTheSane

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...A derivative work would be created if someone took a image I created from the said image and then altered it and used it for their own purpose since they would be violating the copyright of the newly created work.
Actually, by taking an image and doing something to alter it significantly, they stand a higher chance of falling under fair use.
 
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