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Collection of Japanese photographer’s work donated to Museum of History |09 February 2023

Collection of Japanese photographer’s work donated to Museum of History

Ambassador Kato hands over a framed copy of one of the postcards to Ms Kalebi

A collection of picture postcards, a guidebook and brochures produced and sold by well-known Japanese photographer Samuel Singow Ohashi, who once lived in Seychelles, has been donated to the National Museum of History.

The private collection, belonging to Sumio Aoki who lives in Japan, was handed over by the Japanese ambassador to Seychelles, Eiji Kato, to the permanent secretary of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts, Cecille Kalebi, in a short ceremony yesterday morning at the National Museum of History in Victoria.

Samuel Singow Ohashi once set up a photographic business on Albert Street in Victoria. Born in Miyazu, Japan, Mr Ohashi arrived in Seychelles in the late 1890s; he passed away on May 23, 1925, at the age of 74 years old and was buried in Seychelles.

The donation consists of 66 antique picture postcards of Seychelles sold from 1903 to 1910s, a guide book of the history of postcards in Seychelles, several tourist brochures and two sets of postcards from Mr Ohashi’s birth city Miyazu.

The person who owned the private collection, Sumio Aoki, joined the ceremony via zoom video call and took the opportunity to share a few remarks regarding the collection and its history.  

He said that Mr Ohashi’s picture postcards beautifully depict the modern history of the Seychelles, such as the streets of the capital city, ports, government offices, people’s activities, giant tortoises, and plants, unique to the Seychelles. 

Mr Ohashi’s postcards have been utilised in Seychelles history books and exhibited in the national museum and other places.

Mr Aoki explained that among 73 pieces, seven of which were duplicate postcards, he has donated 66 to Seychelles.

“I decided I will donate seven postcards to Miyazu City and the other 66 postcards should be returning to his (Samuel Singow Ohashi) second hometown, Victoria,” he said.

“I believe that the footprints of Singow Ohashi, who left behind the record of beautiful nature and people’s activities in the Seychelles far from Japan, have become an irreplaceable historical heritage for the people of Seychelles,” he said.

Mr Aoki concluded by saying that he hoped that the friendship between the people of Japan and Seychelles will be further deepened and developed through these picture postcards Mr Ohashi left behind.

Ms Kalebi, upon accepting the donation, thanked Mr Aoki for his extraordinary donation on behalf of the Seychellois people.

“I wish to convey my heartfelt appreciation and I greatly and respectfully accept the donation of this collection today,” she said.

Among the guests at yesterday’s ceremony were the board members of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts.


Diane Larame

Photos by Louis Toussaint

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