New Zealander woman uses Twitter to search for Japanese family in old photos
“There is an incredible amount of love pouring out of those photos” Anna Mcdonald, Tweetos
WHEN Anna Macdonald bought a small, antique Japanese sewing box 10 years ago, she found a surprise: three black-and-white photographs showing a Japanese family dressed in traditional clothes.
The 47-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, has taken to Twitter to track down descendants of the family. Her post has generated huge interest on the social media and Japanese television.
At the time of her purchase of the wooden sewing box, Macdonald had no way of tracking down the original owner. But she did not have the heart to throw the photographs away, so she kept them with her most prized possessions.
“I’ve kept them this whole time with my greatgrandfather’s watch and two little bracelets my children made me,” she told Kyodo News.
Her hunt for the family in the photos was reignited when she unpacked the sewing box after moving into a new home.
“When I found them again, I thought ‘Maybe I’ll put them on Twitter,’ thinking it would be cool to get a 100 retweets,” Macdonald said.
“It’s a long shot, but I’d love to find any descendants” of the people captured in these photos, she said.
A little over two weeks since she first posted the photos, Macdonald’s post has been retweeted 35,000 times, and she has had hundreds of people contacting her from New Zealand and Japan for possible leads. “People are obviously quite intrigued,” she said. Two of the three photos are candid shots of a young woman and small child, playing with toys on the balcony of their large, traditional home.
“I’ve always considered Japanese culture to be quite formal but the two photos of the woman and the child were incredibly informal,” Macdonald said, adding, “There’s an incredible amount of love pouring out of those photos.”
The photos have been examined by historians in New Zealand and Japan, who have concluded that they were taken in the early part of Showa period (19261989) before World War II.
“I would imagine they’re in a city,” Macdonald said. “They’re candid photographs, not taken in a studio, so they’re wealthy enough to have their own camera and have them [the photos] developed.”
Neither the wooden sewing box nor the photos had any markings or writings to indicate their identities or locations in Japan.
But Macdonald is determined to find the descendants of the family.
Referring to how her story had been picked up on a morning Japanese television show, she said, “As one of the TV presenters (in Japan) puts it, it’s the story of how somebody on the other side of the world cares.”
Macdonald, who has never been to Japan, hopes she can return the photos personally to the descendants.
“I’d love to meet them. I’d probably cry and get really emotional,” she said.