2018 The Kyoto University Museum Exhibition
China 80 Years Ago Captured on Camera: The Photo Collection of the North China Transportation Company at the Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University
February 13 (Fri) to April 14 (Sun), 2019
2nd floor, Kyoto University Museum
The Kyoto University Museum is proud to present the exhibition ‘The Photo Collection of the North China Transportation Company’ for the first time in West-Japan.
The North China Transportation Company (NCTC) was a Japanese-Chinese joint venture which ran a large business of transportation networks (trains, buses, ships, etc.) around the northern and northwestern part of China during the Sino-Japanese War. This collection, consisting of over 35,000 stock and PR photos which have been stored at Kyoto University for over 70 years is now open to the public for the first time after the war.
The collection survived in nearly perfect condition, which is very rare for a set of visual records of a Japanese pre-war company. This valuable collection of photographs was entrusted to Kyoto University by chance during the postwar chaos, and has been preserved carefully at the Institute for Research in Humanities ever since.
The photos rarely show battle situations from the Sino-Japanese War. Instead, they give us a glimpse of an 80 year old China – of its climate, folklore and culture, its local transportation infrastructure, industry and natural resources. While published pictures were censored by the military or government, unused photos escaped this fate. By carefully examining the set as a whole, we can read the natural and social landscape of a China long gone.
There are many more sources located at Kyoto University which have not yet been made public. Researchers in the humanities are working diligently to preserve and publish them.
We have released these public relations photographs intended for wartime Japanese citizens and Japanese language speakers as academic resources. We will continue to examine the full scale of this photo collection not only in a Sino-Japanese but also in an international framework.
The organizing committee would like to express their deepest gratitude to the Kyoto University and its three institutes (the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the Institute for Research in Humanities, and the Kyoto University Museum) for their financial support of this exhibition.
Prof. Toshihiko Kishi, the Chair of Organizing Committee ‘China 80 Years Ago Captured on Camera’, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
Sub-Program: Digital Show Case
About 450 photos that could not be exhibited can be viewed as a slideshow divided into the six categories ‘railway’, ‘women’, ‘children’, ‘school’, ‘food and residence’ and ‘elderly and medical care’. (60 min)
Two short (digitized) movies
“Foundation of the North China Transportation Company” by South Manchuria Railway Co., 1939.
“The North China Transportation Company: Employees’ Daily Life” by North China Film Company Ltd., 1943.
The movie materials are on loan by courtesy of the Kyoto Railway Museum.