Fisherman vs. Octopus — ca. 1890s

by Paula Bosse

Years ago, when I worked for an auction house as a rare books cataloger, I came across this image in a multi-volume collection of Japanese photographs published in the United States in the 1890s. The photos, most of which had been hand-colored, were all stunningly beautiful, but, understandably, this fantastic image was the one that really grabbed my attention. The photograph — by Japanese photographer Kimbei Kusakabe (1841-1934) — shows a wood carving depicting a fisherman in a fierce battle with an octopus. My first thought (after “Whoa!”) was that this would make a perfect Christmas card if only the fisherman were wearing a Santa hat. …And maybe the octopus.



Sources & Notes

A title of this photograph might be “Japanese Fisherman Struggles for His Life.” The image I’ve used was found here, with a more detailed description here.

Kimbei’s photos are generally serene and and beautiful. Browse through examples of his work on Google Images here.



Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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