Yokohama Photographs of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake by Ranso Wolff

In two previous posts I talked about the treasure trove of old Yokohama photographs tied to Helm Brothers that I got a hold of after the translation of my Japanese book came out. The photo albums were in the possession of Joji Tsunoda. It was Joji’s father, Ranso Wolff, who was born in 1894 and worked for my grandfather Julie and great uncle Charles, who took the photographs. Ranso’s father,  worked as a manager of the docks for my great grandfather. Here they are the photographs. This post has more about how I connected with Joji. This post talks more about Joji and his father.

The scene of Helm Brothers' headquarters after the 1923 earthquake

The scene of Helm Brothers’ headquarters after the 1923 earthquake

 

 

Probably the South Pier. I believe the cranes in the distance may be one of the 2-ton floating cranes operated by Helm Brothers.

This is probably a picture of the South Pier in Yokohama after the 1923 earthquake. The crane in the back may be the 2-ton floating crane that Helm Brothers operated and which was reportedly used to help in the reconstruction of Yokohama after the earthquake.

The Helm Brothers safe survived the earthquake, but everything inside was reduced to ash.

The Helm Brothers safe survived the earthquake, but everything inside was reduced to ash.  The picture below is of a bridge crossing Motomachi canal. I believe the building on the other side of the canal is the remains of the old French consulate, behind which was a road leading up to the Bluff. Halfway up the bluff was the first brothel that featured white women, or so my father had heard. 

 

This collapsed bridge crossed the Motomachi canal.

Helm Brothers uses horse carts to bring in lumber for the reconstruction of Helm Brothers' Yokohama headquarters

Helm Brothers uses horse carts to bring in lumber for the reconstruction of Helm Brothers’ Yokohama headquarters.

Rebuilding Helm Brothers' Yokohama headquarters.

Rebuilding Helm Brothers’ Yokohama headquarters.

Tent cities sprang up across the city to house homeless residents.

 

 

Leslie Helm

About the Author

Leslie Helm

Leslie Helm was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, where his family has lived since 1869. He has worked as Tokyo correspondent for Business Week and the Los Angeles Times. It was during his years abroad that he adopted two Japanese children and began the research that would result in Yokohama Yankee. Helm is currently editor of Seattle Business magazine. Leslie graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in Asian studies. He attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism on a U.S. Japan Friendship Commission fellowship. Helm is currently editor of Seattle Business magazine.

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