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Published by Motivate Publishing

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Senior Designer:

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General Manager Books:

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Publishing Coordinator:

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© Motivate Publishing 2010

© Photographs: Sankei Shimbun & Yoshio Kawashima 2010

© Text: Kimi Makishima-Akai 2010

ISBN: 978 186063 290 7

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying or storing in any medium by electronic means) without the written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for the copyright holders’ written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publishers. In accordance with the International Copyright Act 1956 and the UAE Federal Law No. (7) of 2002, Concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights, any person acting in contravention of this will be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

While every care has been taken to identify the people and places featured in the photographs of this book, it is possible that readers may be able to provide further information. The publishers would be pleased to consider such additional details for inclusion in future editions.

Printed and bound by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai

Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai
Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai
Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai
Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai
Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai
Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai
Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai
Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai

Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun

Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai

Yoshio Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun Text by Kimi Makishima-Akai



Foreword by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum




Arrival in the Trucial States


The Creek, the Heart and Soul of Dubai


Ruler’s Majlis : Meeting with Sheikh Rashid


Souk, the Kaleidoscope of People and Goods


Wedding Celebration on Sands


Townscape and Scenes of Life


Mr Abdullah Kamal


Dubai Revisited


Dubai 1962: the Exhibition


Message from Kawashima


Dubai Chronicle


Acknowledgements and Photo Credits


Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza): an Insight



A moment of Dubai in 1962. The Grand Mosque, a palm tree, windtowers and areesh houses made of palm fronds, near Al Fahidi Fort, that today houses the Dubai Museum.


It is with much pleasure that I take this opportunity to provide the foreword to this remarkable book, Dubai 1962. Although the visit by the photographer Kawashima to Dubai in that year was quite brief, spanning only a week, the photographs he produced are some of the most insightful and fascinating images of daily life in Dubai at that time. From the activity around Dubai Creek, to the trade in the souk and life around the local homes of residents, the activity and dynamism of the city are evident and perfectly captured through his lens.

Of particular interest are the wonderful images of the Ruler’s majlis which show the accessibilty of my brother Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and his deep personal connection to the people of Dubai. These, and all of the photographs, form a splendid record of the time and demostrate the ability of the photographer to capture not only the image, but also the mood of his subject. The relationship and connection between Japan and Dubai as friends and trading partners is a long and successful story. Indeed, in some of the photographs by Kawashima you will see the names

of Japanese companies and products. This relationship has only strengthened over time, so that now there are regular connections between the two to allow easy access for both business and tourism. This book, and the exhibition that inspired it, are a record of that historical link and can only serve to further strengthen those ties. So often we marvel at the many changes the last fifty years have brought to our city that we can sometimes forget how much of our culture and heritage still remains. Although the images here harken back to another way of life, there is much that is recognizable and

familiar to anyone who knows Dubai. Kawashima has captured an essence of Dubai which still remains and this book is a testament to his skill and insight into the subject.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum


This collection of photographs of Dubai taken in 1962 would not have seen the light of day had it not been for Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. For over four decades, some hundred photos had been buried in an archive in Japan, until one of them was brought over to him in 2008. It is quite extraordinary how the collection survived the time and made its way back to the place of origin for the first public viewing nearly half a century later. Here is a brief account of the “resurrection” of those pictures. Yoshio Kawashima is today a retired photojournalist in Japan, who has covered numerous countries during his stint spanning forty years working for the Sankei Shimbun newspaper. His 1962 tour of the Middle East together with Hiroshi Kato, a writer colleague, was a memorable event, as it took them to the Trucial States – the British protectorate that later became the United Arab Emirates. Dubai

struck him as a unique place and has remained unforgettable, with the vibrancy of its trading port and human activities. Kawashima recalls that he could not have asked for a better subject, as the town provided endless photo opportunities wherever he turned his camera. As Kawashima recalls, this is possibly the reason why he kept the Dubai photo negatives with him, rather than handing them over to Sankei – which was a normal practice for newspaper staff. If he had followed the normal procedure, the photos would have been discarded after five years of storage as per the company regulation. Instead, the collection was spared and survived with him. Four decades passed, and as the name of Dubai started appearing in various media in Japan, Kawashima and Kato were reminded of their visit to the Trucial States. Amazed at the changes that had taken place since their visit, and also being nostalgic about the place, the

pair of now retired journalists felt an urge to show the old photographs to anyone who may appreciate them and share their experience. This is how we met: they came over to the office of the Dubai Government Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in Tokyo, where I was working as Marketing Manager. It was immediately apparent the collection was a treasure-trove of priceless photo works with historical value. As I was utterly overwhelmed by their sheer uniqueness and gasped at them, Kawashima thrust the old prints towards me saying, “Nobody got so excited about these photos like you do. Take them, these are yours.” Thus, some sepia-coloured pictures came to my possession unexpectedly. Among them, there was a photo of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former Ruler of Dubai, that was the split image of his youngest brother, Sheikh Ahmed. Besides their resemblance, the image presented the late ruler

with a heart-warming smile, which is rather unusual in official photos, making it all the more special. I hoped that one day I would be able to show this to Sheikh Ahmed, the former Chairman of the DTCM. It took several years, but finally in 2008, after our return to Dubai from Japan, my husband Gota Akai and I presented the photo to Sheikh Ahmed. Sheikh Ahmed was naturally impressed with the work, and rather astonished that the journalists had come to Dubai all the way from Japan so long ago, and that he had taken and kept those photos of immense value. Once he found out Kawashima and Kato are still alive (and fit!) and had not returned to Dubai since 1962, he told us he would invite both of them to Dubai as his guests. For Kawashima and Kato, both nearing eighty years of age, the invitation came as a most wonderful surprise. The following remarks summarized their delight: “We are the most fortunate of all journalists,

being invited back to the place by a brother of the ‘king’ whom we met half a century ago. This is God’s gift. Life is full of wonders and worth living at old age.” The journalists revisited the emirate in November 2008, exactly forty-six years later. Their trip to the new-age Dubai is detailed on page 104. It was this invitation by Sheikh Ahmed that prompted us – Kawashima, Kato, Gota Akai and I – to bring the collection back to Dubai for its first public viewing. Sheikh Ahmed’s gracious gesture towards the old journalists moved us forward. Feeling compelled to reciprocate his goodwill and share the photographic legacy with the people in the UAE, we proceeded to organize the photo exhibition Dubai 1962 at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC) in May 2009, naturally under Sheikh Ahmed’s patronage. After waiting for nearly half a century, the Kawashima collection thus made its return to its origin. The event (accounted for on page 110) drew overwhelming attention from a wide spectrum of the UAE residents as well as visitors, culminating to the publication of this book.

Nowhere in the world and in human history had a city achieved such a dramatic transformation within such a short period of time as Dubai. Kawashima, Sankei Shimbun and I hope these photographs will provide a chance to reflect on the emirate’s great heritage. While one must look up to the future, it is imperative that the past be learnt, remembered and respected as a nation’s foundation and tribute to those who have lived striving for a better future. We hope the readers will enjoy these photographs, which may help rediscover Dubai through its traditional past.

Kimi Makishima-Akai

Throughout the book the following Arabic words have been used: abaya (black cloak worn by women), abra (water taxi), areesh (made of palm fronds), dhow (the traditional Arab sailing vessel), kandoora (traditional robe for men), khanjar (Arabic dagger), majlis (meeting place), shayla (headscarf worn by women), shisha (tobacco water pipe), souk (market).



Sheikh Ahmed holding the picture of his brother, Sheikh Rashid, taken by Kawashima in 1962. Note the resemblance between the royal brothers. It was through this photo of the late ruler and the subsequent invitation by Sheikh Ahmed for the journalists’ revisit that the Dubai 1962 collection was resurrected.

Arrival in the Trucial States

Two young Japanese journalists set foot in Dubai, the then Trucial States, in 1962. It was before the dawn of the modernization era ignited by the discovery of oil and the emirate’s subsequent wealth. While oil export had begun some twenty years earlier in the region – namely Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar – and in the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi, the year 1962 marked the first shipment of “black gold”, Dubai was yet to wait for its exploration efforts to yield results until 1966 for the first discovery of oil and further to the 1970s for the revenue flow. Thus the sheikhdom was then only a small obscure town with trade activities serving mainly oil-rich nations in the region, without any significance worthy of international attention. One may wonder what brought from Japan to Dubai the two media professionals, Yoshio Kawashima, the photographer, and Hiroshi Kato,

the reporter. As the industrial development in the post-war Japan had gathered pace, procurement of energy, namely crude oil, became

a national priority. This led to the first exploration by Japan’s

Arabian Oil Company in Khafji, located in the neutral zone between

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. With the first shipment of Khafji oil delivered

to Japan in 1961, the nation’s interest in the Middle East by the

industry soared. This prompted the Sankei Shimbun, one of the major quality daily newspapers, to dispatch special correspondents to the region, the pair of Kawashima and Kato. While the newspaper’s initial purpose was to report on Khafji and other oil producers in the Gulf, they decided to cover the wider Middle East from the established nations to the totally unknown land of the Trucial States.


にあった英国空軍の空港が空の玄関で、川島・加藤はそこ降り立つ。 さえぎるものの



Arriving in the Trucial States at Sharjah’s RAF airport, the main gateway, before heading to Dubai. It was a landing on a compacted sand airstrip in the vast expanse of desert with an almost uninterrupted horizon. Gulf Aviation, the forerunner of today’s Gulf Air – based in Bahrain – was serving the region at the time.



A taxi service by Land Rover was available at the airport by local drivers.

by Land Rover was available at the airport by local drivers.
by Land Rover was available at the airport by local drivers.





A part of the airport building housing the air control tower is seen on the left. The building now has been converted into the interesting Al Mahatta Airport Museum, while the runway has become today’s King Abdul Aziz Street in Sharjah town-centre, busy with traffic and shoppers.

The Sankei journalists had to travel first to London to obtain visas to their destinations, which were under the British protectorate, before heading to the Middle East. After visiting Egypt, the then United Arab Republic, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, they finally made their way to the Trucial States, arriving in Sharjah at the British Royal Air Force air station (they then recall departing from the airport in Dubai, which had already been constructed two years earlier in the present-day site with runways of compacted sand). Three hours’ journey on a Land Rover taxi over rough terrain (the road was not paved until 1966) brought them to the neighbouring sheikdom of Dubai to the south side of the Creek, Bur Dubai. The drive today takes a mere twenty minutes on a dual-carriage motorway – that is, if one is not caught in traffic congestion.

Naturally, there was no choice accommodation back in the 1960s and it was not until the late 1970s that five-star hotels of international brands opened. The journalists had got a name recommended by an Indian merchant whom they had met prior to their arrival. They checked in a small two-storied establishment called Airlines Hotel with just eight rooms on today’s Al Fahidi Street, close to where the Astoria Hotel is now. It is a short stroll away from the Creek and the souk, the centre of activities, thus making it an ideal location. There was a provision for electricity and piped water much to their relief, though amenities of luxury were still unheard of in those pre-modern days of the sheikhdom.







Airlines Hotel, the journalists’ accommodation for their five-day stay in Dubai in 1962, was one of the first hotels in Dubai built in 1958. It was located on today’s Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai, and had only eight rooms. The very “modern” establishment was in good demand among visiting businessmen and airline crew (see map). Photograph provided by Astoria and Ambassador Group of Hotels, Dubai.