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The photographer has not been identified but it is possibly the work of Harvey R. Marks. Sentaro was one of 17 crew of the shipwrecked Japanese vessel Eiriki-Maru rescued by an American whaler and taken to San Francisco. Contact between Japan and the outside world was prohibited at this time, the first official US visit being a 77-strong diplomatic mission in 1860.

This daguerreotype was formerly thought to show a member of that mission, until the discovery of an 1853 article from the Illustrated News featuring woodblock illustrations of the captain and crew of the Eiriku Maku, confirmed otherwise. This makes the daguerreotype one of the earliest surviving photographic likenesses of a Japanese sitter, hence its importance and the £20,000-25,000 estimate.

Four other companion pieces of the same date are recorded, all now in Japanese institutions. This too has joined the ranks of institutional purchases, being carried off on the phone by the American Peabody Essex Museum at £32,000.