As chairman of the department store chain, Daimaru Inc., Shotaro Shimomura made extensive trips to Europe and the United States to study the management of department stores. He was an avid photographer with an enormous interest in western culture. On his trip around the world from 1934-1935 he took photographs which were later grouped in a series called "The World through Lenses". He offered these photographs only to his friends and relatives upon his return as a collection in an ornate wooden box. The collection includes images of Old Europe and the New World. Industrial landscapes, traffic scenes and city lights are rendered with a modern perspective and point to other great photographers of the time such as Berenice Abbott, Karl Struss and Paul Strand.
The complete collection is rare and only two sets are known; one set consisting of 30 photographs is in the private American Museum of Photography.
The titles include: A Farmhouse in Innsbruck, Austria; Magasin du Nord of Copenhagen, Denmark; Roadside of Cairo, Egypt; Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Shottery, England; A Morning in Hyde Park, London, England; Streets of Warwick, England; A Policeman at Cumberland Gate, London, England; Grammar School at Stratford on Avon, England; Westminster Abbey, London, England; Station at Gourock, Scotland; The Old Bridge of Sterling, Scotland; Christmas Interior Decoration of the Bon Marché, Paris, France; A Morning at the Bank of the Seine, Paris, France; Outskirts of Amsterdam, Holland; Mt. Kangchenjunga from Darjeeling, India; Sampans at the port of Rangoon, India; The Pearl Mosque in Fort Delhi; Pavement at the Taj Mahal at Agra, India; Canal Grande, Venice, Italy; A small bridge of Venice, Italy; A gondola at Venice, Italy; Peak of Eiger from Mürren, Switzerland; A chapel near Interlaken, Switzerland; A small village at the Lake of Lucerne, Switzerland; Downtown skyline of New York, U.S.A.; A country highway of the Middle West, U.S.A.; Niagara Water Fall, U.S.A.; Westbank of the Hudson from Riverside, New York, U.S.A.; Outside of the Japanese Garden in Brooklyn Botanic Garden, N.Y., U.S.A.; Entrance to the Wanamaker Store of Philidelphia, U.S.A., with the statue of La Fayette; At the Golden Gate Park of San Francisco, U.S.A.; R.H. Macy's from the top of the Empire State Building, New York, U.S.A.; On the 57th Street, New York, U.S.A.; A "Left Turn Only" corner of Michigan Avenue, Chicago, U.S.A.; Twenty-fifth annual Convention of Rotary International at Detroit, U.S.A. and A Seagull racing with S.S. "Katori Maru".
The famous central library of Waseda Daigaku is based on the foundation and private library of Shimomura Shōtarō. It contains 93 titles and 2,846 volumes on philosophy and literature of the Ming period (1368-1644). Members of the Shimomura family were well-read in Chinese intellectual history and Chinese literature, so that in the course of time numerous Chinese works had accumulated in the family library. In 1910 Shimomura transferred the above mentioned works as a donation to the Waseda Daigaku. – Some prints with light oxidation mirroring in edges, otherwise most in very good condition.