Maykova N. Junior Captain S. A. Alekseev’s Photo Album as an Ethnohistorical Source on Japan in the Early Twentieth Century

Nadezda Maykova
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0002-2816-5769


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ABSTRACT. The article introduces a new source on the Russian-Japanese war, everyday life in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the history of private collecting. Personal photographs of the Russian Army officer Sergei Andreevich Alekseev are stored in the collection of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). The collector’s biography is full of blank spots, but he is known to have been captured during the Russo-Japanese War and escorted to two POW camps in Japan. Due to the humane attitude towards prisoners, he was able to get acquainted with everyday life in the country and to collect an impressive collection of decorative and applied art, paintings and prints, postcards and photographs of the period. Alekseev witnessed the consolidation of the Japanese nation and rapid transformation of the country. He saw a trained army, modern ships and railways, electric lamps in the streets. He also observed ancient temples, unusual clothes, pretentious hairstyles, and well-groomed gardens. Alekseev’s photographs clearly convey the Russian officer’s interest and admiration of the country where, by the will of fate, he found himself.


KEYWORDS: S. A. Alexeev, Japan, Russo-Japanese War, photographs, Matsuyama Camp, Shizuoka Camp, prisoner of war


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-4(14)-200-221

УДК 069.01+069.5



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