“In the manuscript, shashin is employed both to point to illustrations in natural history books and to sketch a portrait of Keisuke. Viewed from the perspective of modern academic disciplines, these two types of work appear to be completely separate categories of illustration. For Keisuke and Yoshio, however, these differing pictorial works shared a deeper commonality as visual records of the relationship between the depicted subject and its proper name. Their use of the term shashin for these images rested not on an association with Western picture making but on these pictures’ ability to attest to a concrete and verifiable relationship between a name and a representation.”
Maki Fukuoka’s excellent book The Premise of Fidelity: Science, Visuality, and Representing the Real in Nineteenth-Century Japan 1 examines the usage of the word shashin in 19th century scientific contexts.