PhotoGuide Japan Reborn!!


If you haven’t noticed yet, I finally unveiled the Web site’s biggest update ever.

Much of the site is now run and maintained by content management systems residing on the Web server. I’m using at least four server-side programs, each serving a specific purpose.

For example, PhotoBBS (message boards) is run by a message board program, and DirectoryZONE is run by an address book program.

The beauty of it all is that I can maintain most of the site with just a Web interface. I don’t have to start up Dreamweaver to change something each time. And most Web pages are dynamic instead of static. On dynamic pages, you can post comments and it will appear on the page on the fly. I still have some static pages on the site. PhotoReviews is still all static as well other pages that do not need to be changed often.

Although none of the content management programs I’m using is perfect, they will continue to be improved by a very active, open-source, development community.

I’m quite happy with how the revamped site has turned out. It took me almost 6 months to complete the changeover to a database-driven site. It was a lot of work and I spent much of my spare time working on it.

It was both fun and frustrating. So many unexpected problems cropped up, but resolving them were the ultimate joy. If you’re not a computer programmer or software engineer, doing this kind of thing can really test your patience, analytical abilities, and problem-solving acumen. But I really learned a lot, and it feels great to have met the challenge.

Note that this is only the beginning. I’ve only laid a new foundation for the site, and there’s a lot I plan to build on it. It’s a great feeling to know that there’s a strong foundation under the house I will build. I think I’ll take a break for a while though. Meanwhile, hope you all enjoy the new site!

etc. english discontinued

Dear subscriber to etc.english,

I am writing to inform you that etc.english will no longer be published on a regular basis. I thank you for supporting the publication and apologize for any inconvenience caused by its discontinuation.

To replace the regular edition I have made an index of Tokyo art galleries and museums in PDF, which includes contact details, website links, maps and information about the kind of art usually exhibited. The index, which will be updated periodically, can be accessed from the etc.english web site (, where you can also browse past editions of the publication.

If you require a regular source of information about the Japanese art scene, please try the monthly Japanese Art Scene Monitor (, which I edit.

I am also involved in the Mori Art Museum, a new museum due to open in Tokyo in October this year (, and contribute articles to Art In Sight, the monthly art supplement of the International Herald Tribune – Asahi (sometimes included on

Some other useful English sites on Japanese art include:

Assembly Language
PhotoGuide Japan
Tokyo Q
Real Tokyo

Thank you again and I encourage you to continue supporting Tokyo’s art galleries.

Yours sincerely,

Edan Corkill

New Proxy Service page!!

Through our Proxy Service, you can bid on auctions at Japanese auction sites and buy stuff at shopping sites. Since most sellers in Japan don’t ship overseas, we can obtain the item for you and ship it to you.

Our Proxy Service page provides convenient links to Yahoo! Japan Auctions and other shopping sites so you can browse for items you want. You can also take our Quick Tour to see what’s what with sample screenshots translated into English.

Go to Proxy Service page now!

Introducing NewsZONE

NewsZONE is our main content area where you will find articles, reports, and other text info. There are both dynamic and static Web pages.

The database-driven, dynamic pages are What’s New, PhotoWho’sWho, PhotoHistory, PhotoFAQ, PhotoPolls, and PhotoWeblinks. These are interactive pages where you can post comments.

Introducing DirectoryZONE

This is our online address book. Find addresses, phone numbers, URLs, and other information for photo museums and galleries, camera shops, bookstores, and other photography-related businesses and organizations in Japan.

The listings have been completely updated. The photo museum and gallery listings (PhotoSpaces) have been greatly expanded (over 240 listings).

You can also create your own custom list of your favorite galleries, camera shops, etc.

See DirectoryZONE here.

PhotoGuide Japan Reborn!!!

I am proud to present PhotoGuide Japan’s biggest update in its 7-year history.

Major structural and technical improvements have been incorporated along with updated and expanded information.

Here’s a few of the changes and improvements:

– The site’s content has been reorganized into four distinct Zones to make it easier to find things:
1. NewsZONE – Read news & information.
2. DirectoryZONE – Look up addresses & phone numbers.
3. PhotoZONE – View photos.
4. PhotoBBS – Message boards.

– Much of the site is now database-driven with dynamic Web pages.
– The site is more interactive. For example, you can add comments on dynamic Web pages.
– The site’s look and feel has changed dramatically.
– The URLs have changed for most pages (except the home page and PhotoReviews). Redirect pages are in place.

Enough said. Time for you to look around and re-explore PhotoGuide Japan. If you want more details about this massive update, click on the “Read more” link below.

Here’s a detailed list of the major changes at PhotoGuide Japan as of March 3, 2003:

Photo topics have been reorganized into four Zones
The old site had too many Zones (‘ZineZONE, PhotoZONE, DataZONE, ResourceZONE, HistoryZONE, and DirectoryZONE) so I simplified it into four Zones (categories). I think it’s easier now to remember where everything is.

Database-driven with dynamic Web pages
The advantages of a database-driven site is that it enables the Web pages to be dynamic instead of static. The site becomes more interactive. For example, you can post comments to a page on the fly or submit listings and links.

And for me, I can easily update the site through a Web interface. I don’t have to startup Dreamweaver, modify the page, then upload it.

PhotoReviews unaffected
PhotoReviews has not been affected by this massive update. It will continue to consist of static Web pages for the time being. PhotoReviews already underwent a massive facelift last year.

PhotoHistory now dynamic
Besides the additional pages for the years 2002 and 2003, PhotoHistory now sports a new look and consists of dynamic Web pages. You can add comments under any page. The top URL remains the same, but the underlying pages are all different.

PhotoWho’sWho now dynamic
All biographies now have their own Web page, so all the URLs in PhotoWho’sWho have changed. You can post comments to any biography.

I’ve also included some biographies in Japanese. And the longer bios use a new, easy-to-read format.

PhotoSpaces now dynamic
Massive update. I’ve added a lot more galleries and museums. There’s now over 240 listings for all of Japan. Names and addresses in English and Japanese and directions to the place are also provided. Even Japanese visitors will find PhotoSpaces useful.

New DirectoryZONE
This Zone has Photo topics that used to be under the old DataZONE, ResourceZONE, and DirectoryZONE. All the Photo topics in DirectoryZONE are now run by the same database system to create an online address book.

Most of the Photo topics (like PhotoVendors and PhotoBookshops) in DirectoryZONE also cover areas outside Tokyo such as Osaka and Kyoto.

One convenient feature is My Custom List. You can keep your own list of favorite camera shops, bookstores, etc., on a Web page at DirectoryZONE. You only need to have cookies enabled on your browser.

What’s New
We now have a dedicated and dynamic What’s New page to keep you informed of all site updates.

New! From time to time we will add more online surveys (mainly for fun or as a tidbit).

Now interactive. You can help us add more FAQs by posting a question for us to answer.

Now you can submit links (subject to approval).

This is now a list of stock photo agencies and vintage photo dealers.

Unchanged Photo topics
KIPS Report
TIPS Report
PhotoZONE (PhotoShowcase, PhotoExposure, and PhotoPostcards)
PhotoBBS (PhotoBulletin, PhotoDigest, PhotoPR, etc.) – PhotoBBS was introduced in July 2002, and it was our first database-driven section.

Deleted Photo topics and Zones
‘ZineZONE, HistoryZONE, DataZONE, and ResourceZONE have been deleted. Their Photo topics have been moved to one of the four new Zones.
PhotoPeriodicals: This topic will eventually be transferred to PhotoReviews’ magazine section.
PhotoAgencies: This topic has been transferred to PhotoDealers.

And so, we’re back on top as the world’s most comprehensive (but far from complete) English resource and guide to photography in Japan. Finally, I can call this PhotoGuide Japan, Version 1.0. This is the version I originally wanted to present the first time I put the site online in 1996. Finally, we’re coming of age.

But we still got a lot of growing and maturing to do. This is only a new foundation that we have laid. One which should last for the next few years as we further grow and mature.

-philbert ono
Tokyo, Japan

P.S. You are welcome to post a comment below this note. Just click on the “Post comment” button below.

1850s Japanese photography by Torin Boyd & Naomi Izakura

The origins of Japanese Photography during the 1850s:
A discussion by photo historians Naomi Izakura and Torin Boyd

Photography was first introduced in 1839 when the French government presented the findings of Daguerre and Niepce to the world. But due to Japan’s isolationist policy, this technology was not practiced in the country until May 1853 when Commodore Matthew Perry and his Pacific expedition fleet arrived on its shores. Perry’s official photographer, Eliphalet Brown Jr. (1816-1886) took daguerreotypes for this expedition, becoming the first person on record to ever produce photographs in Japan.

Prior to this date, there were small groups of scholars involved in the study of Rangaku, or “Dutch Learning”. This research into Western sciences included the new technology of photography. But it was not until 1857 that any successful results were produced when scholars of the Satsuma clan made a daguerreotype portrait of their lord, Shimazu Nariakira. As a result, all current history concerning photographs ever being produced in Japan begins with the arrival of Perry in 1853.

Japanese photo historians Naomi Izakura and Torin Boyd will be discussing these facts as well as other photographic activity in Japan during the 1850s. Also to be discussed will be Izakura’s discovery of the first time Japanese ever sat before a camera in 1851. This concerns the castaway crew of the Eiriki-Maru who were rescued off the coast of California and taken to San Francisco where they were photographed aboard a U.S. revenue ship in 1851.


– Date: Thursday, February 27, 2003.
– Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
– Where: The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Yurakucho
– Admission: FREE and open to the public.
– Food & drink: if you like, an optional buffet with table seating will be
available for \1575 (tax included). RESERVATIONS FOR THE BUFFET MUST BE MADE prior to the show date by calling the FCCJ at 03-3211-3161. Drinks can be purchased at the bar.


The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan is located on the 20th Floor of the Yurakucho Denki North Building. It is a two minute walk from the following stations:

– Hibiya Station
– Ginza Station
– Yurakucho Station

Parking is also available in the basement of the Yurakucho Denki Building (at half price if the parking stub is stamped by the FCCJ reception desk).


The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan
Yurakucho Denki North Bldg. 20F
Yurakucho 1-7-1 Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-0006
tel: 03-3211-3161
fax: 03-3211-3168


Torin Boyd Photography
Tokyo, Japan

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