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Hiroshi Hiraoka Biography Image - New Photos discovered of Him - 02-15-2017, 05:44 PM

I am researching two photos of Hiroshi Hiraoka from his time in America. These were given by Hiroshi to a family he was staying with in 1871 and 1874. These two photos show him at age 14 1/2 in native Japanese dress when he first arrived and at age 17 1/2 in a western suit.

I have only been able to find two other photos of him online on several sites - one as a boy and one as a elderly man. I am interested in finding the original source of him as a boy as this photo would have been taken at a time between the two photos I have.

The Japanese language biography available at the link below shows what the original image looked like on its front cover. Its a Carte De Viste image consisting of a photo image mounted to a thicker paper board. These were essentially 1870s business cards - it is same type of photo as the two I have.

Does anyone have a copy of this book from Japan?

If so, I wanting to know if the book publisher discloses what is source of the original image on the cover is as I'd like to contact the owner or museum that has the original as it will help to reconstruct a timeline of Hiroshi's events in America.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/4094052410...7048997&sr=8-1

I tried contacting the publisher but they did not answer. I do not speak or read Japanese.
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02-16-2017, 01:57 PM

It’s interesting.

Is this the 17 1/2 photo of him?



I will try to get the book "The base ball and Steam Loco" later on.


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02-25-2017, 03:01 AM

I have had the book "BaseBall and Steam Loco" in my hand.



In the chapter where his life in USA is described, the book only refers to one photograph.



Captioned as "His signature and photo when he was in Boston".

Ask me if you have any question about this book.


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Last edited by RadioKid : 02-25-2017 at 03:06 AM.
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02-26-2017, 04:39 PM

Very interesting... I didn't know him... he was a baseball player from the 20th century right?


http://www.japanforum.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=99577&dateline=1481039942
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02-27-2017, 03:42 PM

”HIRAOKA, HIROSHI" is a Railroad Engineer and succeeded businessman who visited US at his age of 15 apart from his family.

He studied engineering for five years and learned baseball as his hobby.

Returned from US, he worked as a engineer and started business of railroad (sorry, I do not read his whole story yet).

He is the first pitcher who threw "curve" ball in Japan. He learned it during his stay in US.

He is also a good musician. He made many songs and there are some famous musician in his relatives.

And when he learned baseball, the age was still 19th century.


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Last edited by RadioKid : 03-07-2017 at 12:35 PM. Reason: curb => curve
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03-03-2017, 11:04 AM

Wow thanks for the explanation


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03-07-2017, 01:14 PM

Returned from US, HIRAOKA started work in government office as an engineer and after ten years he quit the job and started his own company to make passenger car, freight car, bridge, railroad signals.

He earns so much money and also spend so much for his friends, artists and performers.

Also he started a party of his own music style.

As for the reference documents, the author of the book listed foreign documents as follows.

SPALDINGS OFFICIAL BASEBALL, A. G. SPALDING & BRS. 1876
THE BALL PLAYERS, ARBORHOUSE WILLIAM MORROW 1990
THE NEW DICKSON BASEBALL DICTIONARY, HARCOURT DRACE & COMPANY 1999

HIRAOKA wrote a letter to A. SPALDING to ask supporting baseball pro,motion in Japan. Spalding supported for years to support HIRAOKA by sending balls. bats and other baseball equipments for free.

In US, HIRAOKA stayed Poynton's in Boston who was famous for their contribution of education.

He went primary school (or grammar school) Reus (or Leus) in Boston. He skipped the school class and it was reported on news paper in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1873.

I hope these information help.


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03-10-2017, 05:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadioKid View Post
It’s interesting.

Is this the 17 1/2 photo of him?



I will try to get the book "The base ball and Steam Loco" later on.
I thank you for your various posts! Sorry for not answering sooner. I decided to order a slightly used copy of the biography on Hiroshi from Japan based upon your reply and it has taken a few weeks to arrive in the U.S.

If you look at the photo in the book you can see that there is some writing on the back from Hiroshi in English and Japanese. I was able to take a picture of the photo in the book and use various filters in Photoshop to see the text more clearly. Hiroshi's hand written text on the back reads:

H. Heiraoka
Boston Highlands
Mass.
November 23, 1871

Hiroshi was born on August 5, 1856, so the image in the book shows him at 15 years 3 months 18 days.

"Boston Highlands" was another name for the Roxbury area of Boston.

The text on the back of the image corresponds to Hiroshi's location of "At Miss Boynton's, No 1 Mt Pleasant Place, Roxbury." which is found in a rare notebook in the Boston Public Library. This rare notebook lists the names and known addresses of Japanese students who were sent to the U.S. in the 1870s and who lived in Boston and several other locations in New England. This notebook was transcribed into English and Japanese by a visiting Japanese scholar and made available as a pdf document, which I've uploaded at the url below.

https://www.docdroid.net/OXIuhAj/bos...brary.pdf.html

The first part of the pdf is in Japanese and the second part is in English. Hiroshi is #10 in the list.

The first image of Hiroshi I have dates several months before the one shown in the book as he is still dressed in what appears to be a traditional haori and hakama, with a wakizashi style sword hilt visible. His hair is also drawn back into a small knot on the top of his head. This image would need to be several months earlier because time would be needed for his hair to grow to the length shown in the book. I am not sure if this photo was taken back in Japan before he left, was taken upon his arrival on the West Coast of the U.S., or when he arrived in Boston as I am not certain if he had already changed over to Western style clothing before he arrived or not.

Below is some detail from test scans of the image I've made. One can detect a sort of "X" shaped symbol on the sword band, but I am not sure if anything of substance can be deciphered due to the shiny surface of the band obscuring other characters. One small English language snippet of information from another book indicated that Horishi's father might have been a minor samurai; however, I am not sure if this was the reason he was wearing the sword as I believe some other classes of people were also permitted to wear similar swords by this time.



The second image I have shows him in a Western suit and obviously several years older. It is signed in a similar manner to the image shown in the book - he has spelled his name in English as "H. Heiraoka". This image is dated 1874 and he has indicated his location as the Manchester Locomotive Works. The rare notebook mentioned above says he was located there by January 13, 1874; however Hiroshi did not record a month or day on the back of this image so his age in the second photo I have could rage from 17 years 5 months 8 days to 18 years 4 months 26 days depending upon what day it was taken in 1874.
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03-10-2017, 06:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadioKid View Post
Returned from US, HIRAOKA started work in government office as an engineer and after ten years he quit the job and started his own company to make passenger car, freight car, bridge, railroad signals.

He earns so much money and also spend so much for his friends, artists and performers.

Also he started a party of his own music style.

As for the reference documents, the author of the book listed foreign documents as follows.

SPALDINGS OFFICIAL BASEBALL, A. G. SPALDING & BRS. 1876
THE BALL PLAYERS, ARBORHOUSE WILLIAM MORROW 1990
THE NEW DICKSON BASEBALL DICTIONARY, HARCOURT DRACE & COMPANY 1999

HIRAOKA wrote a letter to A. SPALDING to ask supporting baseball pro,motion in Japan. Spalding supported for years to support HIRAOKA by sending balls. bats and other baseball equipments for free.

In US, HIRAOKA stayed Poynton's in Boston who was famous for their contribution of education.

He went primary school (or grammar school) Reus (or Leus) in Boston. He skipped the school class and it was reported on news paper in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1873.

I hope these information help.
Thank you for the information!

Although I do not read Japanese I purchased the biography based the image you showed from the book. The photographer shown on the front of the image in the book is located just 2.7 miles northeast of Hiroshi's address of "Miss Boynton's, No 1 Mt Pleasant Place, Roxbury" given in the rare notebook I mentioned above.

I have tried contacting the publisher Shogakukan and Viz Media who sells English versions of some of its books about who might own the image in the book, but they do not respond. I also have not found any contact information for the authors.

The image in the book and the two images I have are known as "carte de visite" photos and where used at the time as visiting cards to be given away as souvenirs. The two photos I have were given to a family of merchants Hiroshi stayed with while in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1873. I also have photos of a few other Japanese students the family met in addition to several Chinese students from a similar Chinese government program.

There are 78 Japanese students listed in the notebook I previously mentioned; however four are listed twice by accident. I've been able to find images of about 46 of them online, which are mostly located in various museums in New England. I am thinking the image shown in the book was also given by Hiroshi to someone in the U.S. and acquired by a museum or it may have been sent back to Japan by Hiroshi.

Personally, I would like to see the publisher Shogakukan issue the book in English as I think it would be of interest to U.S. baseball fans. I would also consider letting them use the two images I have if they would issue the book in English.

I also would like to see a movie made on Hiroshi's life. It would be very interesting to see his various achievements from a life that began only a few years after Commodore Perry entered Japan and whose life ended near the approach of WWII.

Last edited by shianchester : 03-10-2017 at 06:15 AM.
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