LtE in CMO #288

From Françoise LAUNAY

® . . . . . . Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 22:38:22 +0100

Subject: Janssen at Nagasaki


Dear Masatsugu MINAMI,


Last year, you wrote to my colleague Nicolas Biver :


"It is a Great Observatory ever since Pierre Jules Janssen. He is well known as an astronomer who tried to find water on Mars. He is also known here as Director of the expedition to Nagasaki and Kobé to observe the Venus Transit in 1874. Please find attached a photo here in which Janssen and Tisserand are shot. I suppose the group includes a Japanese person on the photo. I would be thankful if you could identify who this Japanese is. I am interested in the 1874 French expedition to Nagasaki and Kobé.


The name Françoise LAUNAY is known to me, and I would like to write to her some day."


and I apologize for not having written to you sooner, because I am very interested in JULES Janssen : I hope to be able to publish an annotated edition of his correspondence in 2007 (he died in 1907...), and a biography as well. I am currently writing a paper on the photographic revolver, together with my friend Peter Hingley, the librarian of the Royal Astronomical Society in London. You cannot imagine how delighted we were to discover the wonderful photo you sent to Nicolas. Where did you find it ??? Do you think it would be possible for us to publish it in the revolver paper ?  If yes, could you please send me the best scan you can obtain and tell me who we must credit for it ?


I must confess that it is not so easy for me to identify the persons on the photo, apart from Janssen of course. Are you sure that Tisserand is the man sitting down on the left?  From the portraits of Tisserand I have got, he might also be the man behind Janssen.


The members of the Nagasaki party were: Janssen, Tisserand, Picard, Arents, d'Almeida, and two sailors: Michaut and Mercier. Delacroix and Chimizou (or Shimizou as it is written on the column in Kobe ???). So they were nine, and there are only 8 persons on the photo... The man behind Janssen looks like a Japanese. I am not sure whether Chimizou was French or not. Janssen said that he studied in the "École Centrale", but his name is not in the lists of this French "Grande École"... Moreover a fiend of mine gave me a page of a Japanese book (unfortunately without any reference), where it is said that among the members of the Kobe party there was a Japanese named Makoto Shimizu, and that this man was the founder of the Japanese matches ! What do you think?


In Janssen's notebooks two Japanese men are also mentioned: "Mr. Koga, and M. Tsrouda (Tourouda)". Have you ever heard of them ?


Looking forward to knowing more about the photo,


Very best wishes,



Françoise LAUNAY (Meudon, France)

Observatoire de Paris-Meudon

5 Place Jules JANSSEN        


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