Abraham Lincoln in the News
In the News
in 1999 and 2003
Newspaper Article in USA
May 6, 2003
Abraham Lincoln’s Colored Photographs on Exhibit in Japan
Abraham Lincoln was in the Army and in Japan from October 1953 through
April 1956. He was stationed on the northern island of Hokkaido near
Sapporo, Japan and on the middle island of Honshu near Sendai, Japan.
He began taking photographs with a Japanese camera whose body was made
from salvaged beer cans – the label was visible around edges that were not
sprayed with black paint and could be seen each time new film was
installed. He bought two other cameras – a Cannon and a Nikon. The latter
cameras were used to take hundreds of photos of Japan at a time when the
nation was beginning a long period of reconstruction.
Around the time he moved to Brookville in 1962, he had seven photo albums
filled with pictures and 5 carrousels filled with color slides and a
cardboard box with hundreds of black and white photos.
“I knew I wasn’t going to live forever and I thought my photos of Japan
should be of interest to Japanese, so I wrote to the Mayor of the city and
to a large museum there and asked if they would accept them.” He said.
He got Email from the museum director saying he would be thrilled to get
them and the mayor said he would gladly accept them on behalf of the
citizens of Sendai. So Abraham finally realized his photos would not end
up at a garage sale but would become an important part of the history of a
city that he photographed many years ago.
Abraham found about a thousand photos and scanned them at high resolution
and burned them on CDs. He made CD labels and mailed CD sets to the Mayor.
The mayor accepted them and gave them to the museum. The museum promptly
mounted an exhibition consisting of 50 of the color photos (color photos
were beyond the means of most Japanese citizens at that time so they have
never seen what their city was like in color in those years).
The exhibit began on April 25, 2003 and runs through May 11, 2003. The
exhibit has been in the news in Japan and the museum has been pleased with
the response it is getting to the exhibit.
Abraham also, years earlier, used many all of his photographs to build a
Internet Web Site. He gets Email from Japanese all over the world who see
the pictures and want to thank him for showing them on the Internet.
Many American soldiers were stationed at Camp Sendai or Camp
Schimmelpfennig and they write and thank him for his efforts. Some of
their children write and tell him they finally got to see where their
father was stationed.
Many can recall those days when there were no traffic lights in the city
and a lone policeman stood on a box to direct traffic at some
intersections. They also recall the city was dusty and some bridges were
still out from bombing, and no building was over 4 stories tall. Many
streets were not paved and sidewalks were scattered here and there. Almost
everyone walked or rode bicycles and children played in the streets and
dogs slept there. It was rare to see a Japanese automobile anywhere.
Times have changed, of course, because the city is now one million strong
and has many skyscrapers and it has become known as the City of Trees.
Children would not dare play in the streets and dogs never sleep there.
Thousands of Japanese automobiles race about the city like they do in
“When I was there the Japanese were just planting those Zelkova Trees and
they were not an inch in diameter. Now there is a controversy about the
cost of maintaining so many large trees and the people do not want them
removed,” he said, “It is hard to believe but those trees were a couple of
years old when I took their picture and now they are over fifty years old.
“There are thousands of traffic lights these days and hundreds of
thousands of automobiles and the people still walk a lot more than we do.
When I was in Sendai I could walk from the train station to the Hiroshi
River Bridge and see all the way down the street. Now you cannot see
beyond the next block.”
Toshiyuki Tanno was born in 1954 near Camp Sendai and grew up to be an
architect and worked for the city of Sendai as an building architect
inspector. He remembered the old Camp Sendai buildings from his school
One day he got on the Internet and typed in “Sendai” and up came Abraham
Lincoln’s site. “I was stunned to see so many things I never saw in a city
I call home.” Tanno later wrote to Abraham.
He was so taken by what he saw that he set out to track down every spot
where Abraham once stood to take the picture he took and then he snapped a
picture and sent it to Abraham so he could see how much changed.
That started a friendship that lasts to this day. Toshiyuki Tanno was the
first person who was impressed and then Saburo Aida (editor and publisher
of the large Japanese newspaper, Kahoku Shimpo), saw the site and wrote 4
newspaper stories about it and then the site appeared on Miyagi Prefecture
television. Toshiyuki Tanno, Haruhiko Yamato and other Japanese
businessmen formed a Lincoln Fan Club and the club members were among the
first to view his Exhibition.
A fan club member, Mr. Endo and others went there in April and recorded
some of the scenes at the museum. If you go to
http://www.cyberscape.gr.jp/A-html/top-B05.html You will see a page
the fan club created. If you click on one of the globes you should be able
to see a 360 degree view of whatever is there. You may need to go to
www.apple.com and download the Apple Quick Time viewer to see them but it
is worth the effort.
You can see his original Japanese photographs site at
and you can type in
http://www.sendai-shi.com to see his second site featuring the city as
he recorded it fifty years ago.
Newspaper Articles in Japan in 1999
This is the city that had no traffic lights, and no stop signs when I
was there. The trees were just being planted along the streets and were about the size of bamboo fishing poles. I could actually walk from our
camp gate to the train station without seeing an automobile. Its all
changed now. I was stationed in Japan from November 1953
until April 1956. All but 5 months of this time was spent in Sendai, Japan.
Newspaper that wrote five or six stories about
Abraham Lincoln and his web site.
Sendai City Museum of History and Folklore
The city museum received all of Lincoln's photographs on two CD's. The
mayor accepted them on behalf of the city and sent Mr. Lincoln a letter
of thanks. The museum had an exhibition of 50 color photos from 50 years
ago - from April 25 to May 11, 2003. The director said it was a popular
exhibition and a lot of people attended. You can go to the museum and
ask to see some of his pictures. See the Mayor's Press Release:
(English) and in Japanese (link at bottom of same page).
MIYAGI Television Broadcasting Company, LTD., 2000
Abraham Lincolns web site was also featured on a segment of "Good
Afternoon" a highly popular afternoon television program in Sendai,
Japan. If you go there, note the word "OH" on the left side.
That is the name of the show. Click it.
Sendai City Tanabata Festival in
This annual event also sponsored Abraham Lincoln's site and tried to
find several people shown on his web site. Millions attended and
countless individuals looked at his site trying to identify the people