OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN, a photo blog of Japan in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods

Old Photos of Japan
shows photos of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s. In 1854, Japan opened its doors to the outside world for the first time in more than 200 years. It set in motion a truly astounding transformation. As fate would have it, photography had just been invented. As the old country vanished and a new one was born, daring photographers took photos. Discover what life was like with their rare and precious photographs of old Japan.
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Yokohama 1929 • Ships in Port

s.s. Malolo and other Steamers and Liners in Yokohama Harbor, Japan (October 1929).

Ships in the harbor of Yokohama. This photo was taken from the s.s. Malolo which visited Yokohama Harbor in October 1929 (Showa 4). This was an important year, because by this time the city was considered to have almost completely recovered from the devastation of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake that destroyed 60,000 houses and killed 20,000 people in Yokohama. The city had quite literally vanished. When it rebuilt, the harbor was completely improved and modernized. The many ships on this photo are a silent witness to Yokohama’s remarkable recovery just six years after it restarted from scratch.

Located on the western shore of Tokyo Bay, Yokohama quickly became a prosperous harbor town after it was opened for foreign trade in 1859. From a tiny fishing village it had grown into a city with 121,985 inhabitants by 1889. At the time of the earthquake this had grown into 446,600 people. Records show that the year after the quake the population had shrunk to 389,700. By the time this photo was shot, it had however exceeded the level of before the quake and stood at 543,900. [1]

Although it was once again destroyed during WWII, the city had an incredible comeback and today has well in excess of 3 million inhabitants, making it the second largest city, and one of the most densely populated, of Japan. Yokohama’s huge economy now includes oil refineries, chemical plants, steel mills, and factories that produce textiles, primary metals, ships, automobiles, machinery, as well as transportation and electrical equipment.

This glass slide is one of a series of slides of Japan that was used by the New York State Education Department to teach students about Japan.

1 City of Yokohama: A Statistical Look at Yokohama Population. Population Growth of Yokohama: 1. Growth of Population, Number of Households, Area. Retrieved on 2008-10-22.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: New York State Education Department
Medium: Glass Slide
Image Number: 80121-0013
Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image
Posted by • 2008-10-21
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