Maternal Grandfather in Costume in Yokohama, Japan

Costumes in Yokohama, Japan
My daughter needed some old photos to show in school. This one of three men in Japanese costumes is one of the old family photos I scanned in for her to use. The man on the right is my maternal grandfather – he looks quite youthful. I do not know the other men. I never met this grandfather – he died long before I was born.

I didn’t know anything about Yokohama, Japan, so I looked the city up. It looks quite modern now, but it seems to have quite a bit of history. I found this on

With only a population of 600, the small village Yokohama started to become widely known to its own country and the world, when its port first opened in 1859. Since then, Yokohama has been taking hold its business function as a modern trading city, pursuing export of Japanese silk and tea.

I have written in the past about my maternal grandfather. When you don’t know a relative, it is intriguing to try to learn more about this person; unfortunately, everyone who once knew him is no longer alive. Here is my grandfather in front of a shop. Here he is on a boat. I originally wrote about my maternal grandfather on this post. Finally, here is a post about a visit he made to his hometown, Mariampole. That was the last time he visited – the relatives there were all murdered in World War II.

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So why do I have time to write a little? Today is a fast day – the 10th of Tevet (Assarah b’Tevet). It commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. On the 9th of Av (in the summer), he destroyed the Temple. This was way back in 588 BCE.

The rabbinate in Israel decided that the 10th of Tevet should be a day to commemorate any loved ones who died in the Holocaust, and we are unaware of their yahrzeits (dates of death). As my relatives from Mariampole fall into this category, I remember them today.

15 thoughts on “Maternal Grandfather in Costume in Yokohama, Japan

  • Thank you so much for sharing this post, and the links to other photographs. The photographs are lovely, reminiscent of times past, and shows snippets of life within the images. Ancestral photographs bring meaning to our lives, even if we don’t know the particulars. They are a foundation of sorts, of familial ties that bind us to our heritage. I know you cherish all the captures. xo

    • I was looking through for other posts on my grandfather, and I was surprised how many other relatives I have added in the past. Just recently I did a little research (via my mother-in-law) on my husband’s family – they are all from southern Poland, from Galicia. My son will be visiting Poland in the spring.

      • I looked through your links to older posts, and saw you writing about your other relatives. Nice on your son visiting Poland! Have you ever done research on the website JewishGen? I have used it to trace my Lithuanian ancestral roots…and found it to be very informative in coming up with lineage dating back to late 1700s.

    • Mrs. S., thank you for visiting. A total coincidence that my daughter needed old photos today … somehow I managed to tie it into the fast day. Truth is, I don’t know my maternal grandfather’s yahrzeit, either, but I could look it up if I wanted. I guess commemorating my own parents for me is enough. Both my grandmothers died in the summer. One still has a living daughter. I think my Russian family survived the war, and my father’s Polish cousins hid in the sewers (although probably not all of them did – but that’s the story I heard).

    • A.K., glad you enjoyed the part on the 10th of Tevet. It is often the Jewish holiday closest to Christmas, so when people wish one friend ‘Happy Holidays’, he thinks in his head: “Oh, you mean Asarah B’Tevet?’ But his response is usually just ‘thank you’ or ‘you, too’.

  • Old photographs Offer us an insight into the past like no other method. In our ever change SM landscape photos like these give us a chance to step back and see the world from another time and in a different way. The photo of grandfather is certainly no exception. I think I go dig some of my own up and reminisce. 🙂

    • Susan, yes, old photos can be so intriguing – a chance, as you say, to step into another world. Would love to see or hear if you find some interesting ones of your own.

  • It was such an interesting but at the same moving post to read. I love these old B&W pictures as they pretty much also tell us about our destiny — one day all that will be left of us are some photos and home-made movies. All our wishes, aspirations, dreams, hatred, love, anger, sympathy, emotions will be lost forever.

    Now that Lithuania is open, did you or any of your family member go there to see if any of the relatives ultimately survived or not or what has happened to their homes?

    • I will take my family’s word (and historians) that they were ALL slaughtered. If any were among the few survivors, they would have long left for much friendlier countries such as the U.S., Canada or Israel. No, I am not really interested in visiting places were Jews were murdered. I will leave that for others.

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