Friday, March 7, 2014

The Case of the Akadama Port Wine poster, 1922.

(*click on images to enlarge*)
Google has this cool thing where you can run a search on something by uploading an image.  I sometimes upload random things to see what it spits out.  Maybe nothing on your image, but it will give you a handful of what it deems similar images, equally interesting/entertaining.

I used it recently to find out more about this image, something I saw recently while perusing the interwebs.  Assuming it an ad, I was curious about the copy.

Certainly not definitive, here are a few things about it as far as I can tell.  

This is an ad for Akadama Port Wine.  It is Japan's first nude advertisement and, utilizing new technology, first photographic advertisement.  It was published in 1922. 

The woman in the poster is Matsushima Emiko. This essay refers to her as being an opera singer, and this book refers to her singing in/for something called the "Akadama Review."

In a country not legendary for its wine, Akadama Port wine was a concocted blend of grape juice, alcohol, flavorings and sugar

I think the poster merely reads, "Akadama Port Wine."

Pages 334 - 344 (and footnotes) of this book by Jaqueline Berndt fleshes out the story of this poster.

With Google Translate, I am not certain but think this is a photo of Ms. Emiko with her poster.  I think she is in her nineties, here, but no longer on earth.

Akadama newspaper ad, January 11, 1920, via David LeFrank.

via eBay, another vintage Akadama label, era unstated.


                                      Current Akadama.   

If interested:
Some of Japan's beer ads, 1894 - 1954
More vintage Japanese ads.

This is the screenshot of what Google deemed visually similar to the Akadama Port Wine poster.

I drew this.

Google thinks it looks mostly like this fan belt.

 But these also qualified.  Borderline genius.