- 公益財団法人 山階鳥類研究所
- 山階鳥類学雑誌 (ISSN:13485032)
- vol.52, no.2, pp.105-112, 2020-12-15 (Released:2020-12-16)
Asakusa Hanayashiki, an amusement facility in Tokyo, began to keep animals in earnest around the end of the Edo period (1603–1868). They actively collected popular foreign animals during the Taisho era (1912–1926). In 1915, they obtained the first living penguin in Japan. I found a postcard showing that two other penguins arrived between 1915 and 1921. The sketch drawn by the bird illustrator Shigekazu Kobayashi revealed that the penguins arrived between May and September 1919. The two individuals were identified as Humboldt Penguins Spheniscus humboldti, and at least one was a juvenile. The arrival of these penguins was not reported by newspaper; it seems that the value of newsworthiness of penguins had decreased at that time and that not all individuals could survive for long periods. Also, on two occasions when penguins arrived at Hanayashiki, lectures on the Shirase Exploration of Antarctica were presented and the penguins became widely known to public. At the lecture, Captain Shirase showed pictures of the magnificent sights of the Antarctic and the penguins. In comparison, the small penguin exhibited at Hanayashiki might have proven disappointing for customers. In addition, penguins were already kept at the nearby Ueno Zoo at the same time, which also may have drawn away potential customers.