I am trying to find out further information about a sword and traditional 19th Century Japanese men's clothing within a portrait photo. I've uploaded a portion of the image at the link below that show's the subject's torso from just below the neck to just below the waist line.


I know that the photo was taken in 1871 and that the subject was a 15 year old boy. A 3rd party reference source state's that the boy's father was a minor samurai. Another 3rd party source said his father was the Tayasu clan chief retainer.

Can anyone confirm that this is a wakizashi style sword hilt and what class of people would have used it in Japan? According to the wikipedia page below a wakizashi was also used by merchants and artisans because they were forbidden to wear a katana.


The boy's father sent him outside of Japan in early 1871 to be educated in a western country thus he still had his hair drawn up into a traditional chonmage knot in the photo whereas in the later part of 1871 those still living in Japan were faced with new "Cropped Hair Edict" as noted at the below url. The front of his head was not shaven like in the Edo period - I am not sure if this was due to the style at the time or that he was already letting his frontal hair grow out as he was expected to adopt western styles of dress and hair as part of his education.


I think the image was taken very shortly after he arrived in a western country as he is seated in what appears to be a western style wood chair based upon what appears to be a chair back rest on the right side. If the image was taken before he left Japan I would think they would have included additional swords, such as a katana, to denote his status (unless it was difficult to wear additional weapons when seated).

I am considering having a graphic artist digitally restore and colorize the image so I am looking for suggestions as to what colors would have traditionally been used on the sword hilt parts and various pieces of clothing?