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Japanese Hiroshi Hiraoka Baseball Biography Help

George Schot

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I purchased this Japanese language biography (ISBN4-09-405241-0) on Hiroshi Hiraoka (1856-1934), who was the father of Japanese baseball. Its a small paperback with a additional outer glossy paper jacket whose front cover is shown below.

I don't actually read Japanese, but bought the book as I am hoping it would disclose the source of the small green toned photo of a young Hiroshi just to he right of the train on the jacket. Luckily I also found that the front and back of the image had been reproduced on pages 41.

Can anyone tell me if either of the pages below disclose the source of this photo? If not, what section of the book would likely contain the equivalent of footnotes for the illustrations? I've sent an email to the publisher Shogakukan, but I don't think they would have anyone who might speak English to be able to reply.

I am currently researching two photos of Hiroshi from 1871 and 1874 that I have from when Hiroshi was approximately ages 14 1/2 and 17 1/2 from his time in America. Hiroshi gave these images to a family he was staying with while in U.S. as a student. The first image I have would have been taken a few months before the image shown in the book as Hiroshi is still dressed in traditional Japanese clothing and has a shorter Japanese hair style. The second image I have is signed by Hiroshi who has also dated the image 1874 and indicated his location was the Manchester Locomotive Works.

I'd like to find who owns the original image shown in the book to help further reconstruct a timeline of Hiroshi's activities in the U.S.



 

Mike Cash

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If not, what section of the book would likely contain the equivalent of footnotes for the illustrations?

Have you tried looking at the back of the book for lists of items appended by page numbers corresponding to the pages with images?
 

George Schot

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Have you tried looking at the back of the book for lists of items appended by page numbers corresponding to the pages with images?

There is similar list in the front of the book (which would be the back of a book in the U.S.); however, this appears to simply be a index of content that correspond to the first page of each chapter and 3-4 or main subjects found within each chapter (which don't correspond to pages with images).
 

Toritoribe

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I thought I heard of his name somewhere in this forum, but actually it's in your previous tread...:)

The caption under the photo in the book says that it's the photo and signature when he was in Boston. I can see a word "seventeen" on the back, so this might refer to his age at that time. (The kanji next to "seven" is illegible to me.)

I don't think they would have anyone who might speak English to be able to reply.
Well, I don't think so.
 

Mike Cash

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There is similar list in the front of the book (which would be the back of a book in the U.S.); however, this appears to simply be a index of content that correspond to the first page of each chapter and 3-4 or main subjects found within each chapter (which don't correspond to pages with images).

It's nice that you found the table of contents in the front of the book, right where one would expect to find it. Did you try looking in the back of the book like I suggested?
 

George Schot

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Well, I don't think so.
I seem to recall that their main web site has one page with some company history in English; however, it clearly was not translated by someone who has a native understanding of English and contains spelling errors. I've not been able to find an English division of their firm.
The caption under the photo in the book says that it's the photo and signature when he was in Boston. I can see a word "seventeen" on the back, so this might refer to his age at that time. (The kanji next to "seven" is illegible to me.)
Thanks for the information. Hiroshi appears to also have inscribed the back of the photo with the date November 23, 1871, which would make him just over 15 years and 3 months old. I earliest photo I have would be several months before this as time would be needed to grow his head of hair outward match to the Western style hair seen in the book.
 

George Schot

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It's nice that you found the table of contents in the front of the book, right where one would expect to find it. Did you try looking in the back of the book like I suggested?

Well, actually I checked through the entire book before posting here and did not find anything. I also completed some ocr extraction of a few pages from the back of book for translation just in case these page for some reason do not reference illustrations by page number, but these pages are not related to anything similar to footnotes. Being that the publisher is primarily geared toward issuing mass market paperbacks such as manga I am not certain if they would have bothered putting such information in the book, especially if this book was geared more towards children.
 

George Schot

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I was able to use some filters in CS6 Photoshop to bring out the hand written text on the back of the image from the book, which is:

H. Heiraoka
Boston Highlands
Mass.

Boston Highlands was another name for Roxbury and his first known address was
"Miss Boynton's, No 1 Mt Pleasant Place, Roxbury", which I believe was probably a boarding house.

The photographer is located about 2.7 miles northeast of this address using existing streets.
 

Toritoribe

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I seem to recall that their main web site has one page with some company history in English; however, it clearly was not translated by someone who has a native understanding of English and contains spelling errors. I've not been able to find an English division of their firm.
"They don't have English pages in their home page" doesn't always mean "the company doesn't have any English speakers." The site is for Japanese people from the first. "They have English speakers" does not always mean "they reply to English emails" either, though. Anyway, you should send it in Japanese, if you really want to know it. We had a successful case previously. She got a reply from the city hall soon after sending an email in Japanese in the following thread.
Need help finding my family's Koseki! - translation | Japan Forum

Hiroshi appears to also have inscribed the back of the photo with the date November 23, 1871, which would make him just over 15 years and 3 months old.
There are two ways of counting age in Japan; "man(満)" and "kazoe(数え)". The former one is usually used nowadays, but the latter one is also still used especially for the age at death(享年) or critical age(厄年) even now.
East Asian age reckoning - Wikipedia

In the traditional age counting system "kazoedoshi", the age of a baby is 1 when they are born, and grows a year older at the New Year's Day, not their birthday. Besides, a luni-solar calendar "Tenpō calendar" was used until December 2, Meiji 5 (= December 31, 1872 in the Gregorian Calendar) in Japan. As you would know, Hiraoka was born on August 19, Ansei 3 (= September 17, 1856), so he became two years old on January 1, Ansei 4 (= January 26, 1857). November 23, 1871 was October 11, Meiji 4, thus, the traditional calendar system was still used at that time. (I'm not saying "seventeen" refers to his age. I'm just talking about the possibility.)
 

George Schot

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"They don't have English pages in their home page" doesn't always mean "the company doesn't have any English speakers." The site is for Japanese people from the first. "They have English speakers" does not always mean "they reply to English emails" either, though. Anyway, you should send it in Japanese, if you really want to know it. We had a successful case previously.

Thank you for your time!

I have opted to pay someone for a private translation of the book as opposed to trying to contact the company and wasting more time.
 

RFitts

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Thank you for your time!

I have opted to pay someone for a private translation of the book as opposed to trying to contact the company and wasting more time.

George,
I write books about the history of Japanese/US baseball relations. My current book will have a chapter on Hiroshi Hiraoka. I would like to speak you about your research and especially the translation of Hiraoka's biography. Would you please contact me?
Rob Fitts
Rob Fitts, Baseball Historian
 
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