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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Arashiyama 1910s • Togetsukyo

Togetsukyo, Arashiyama

Two women in kimono, protecting themselves from the rain with paper umbrellas, cross Togetsukyo (literally, bridge to the moon) in Kyoto’s Arashiyama. Mist partly obscures the mountains at the far end of the bridge and gives this image an almost mysterious feel. The bridge received its poetic name after Emperor Kameyama (1249-1305) mentioned that the bridge appeared to stretch to the moon.

This wonderfully romantic shot of Togetsukyo was photographed by Teijiro Takagi (高木庭次郎), a photographer based in nearby Kobe. In 1904 Takagi bought photographer Kozaburo Tamamura’s (玉村寫眞郎) Kobe branch after having managed it for about a year. His company continued using Tamamura’s name until 1914 when he changed it to T. Takagi. Takagi, who continued doing business through at least 1929, is especially well-known for his wonderful glass slides and many hand-tinted collotype books focusing on particular themes of Japanese life, like New Year customs, marriage and the tea ceremony.1

For an earlier view of Togetsukyo and a short history of this bridge, see Arashiyama 1880s • Togetsukyo Bridge.

Togetsukyo, Arashiyama
Togetsukyo seen from a different angle shows the spot where Teijiro Takagi stood to take the photograph with the kimono-clad ladies

1 Bennett, Terry (2006). Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors’ Data Guide. Bernard Quaritch Ltd., 292. ISBN 0-9550852-4-1

Photographer: Teijiro Takagi
Publisher: B & F Bible Society
Medium: Glass Slide
Image Number 80131-0001

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Posted by • 2008-04-14
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