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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Osaka 1880s • View on Tennoji

Panoramic View on Osaka

An extremely rare panoramic view of the area around Shitennoji Buddhist temple in Osaka. The five-storied pagoda of Shitennoji can be seen on the far left. It is interesting to notice how it functioned as an important landmark. These days the temple is virtually invisible because of the surrounding high-rises. Difficult to imagine, but the rural area in the front is now the electronic and pop culture center Den Den Town in Nipponbashi.

The area was a way-station (Shukuba) and was known as Nagamachi (長町) during the Edo Period (1603-1886). It was later renamed Nipponbashi after the nearby bridge over Dotonbori.

Chobokaku, OsakaDuring the early 20th century, second-hand bookshops started to establish themselves in the area. After the end of World War II, consumer electronics stores were concentrated here and the area became known as Den Den Town (Electronics Town).

From the late 1990’s many stores selling manga, anime and figures started to replace the electronics stores, and the area has now become a pop culture center, similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara.

In view of the height of the photographer’s vantage point, this photo was almost certainly taken from Chobokaku (眺望閣), a five-storied tower in Osaka’s Minami disctrict. The tower was popularly known as Minami no Gokai (南の五階) and had an observation platform on the top floor that gave a spectacular view of Osaka.

Designed to look like Mt. Fuji, the wooden tower was completed in July 1888 (Meiji 21). During 1888 (Meiji 21) and 1889 (Meiji 22), Chobokaku was one of the most popular leisure destinations in Osaka. It would help to inspire the construction of a more ambitious tower, Tsutenkaku in Shinsekai, and made Namba the central attraction of the Minami district.1

Although I can find no attribution for this image, I suspect it might be by Kozaburo Tamamura as he published an image of Osaka with the number 89b (This is 90 B ). Suggestions are very welcome.

Map of Osaka 1889
1889 (Meiji 22) Map of Osaka: 1. Ebisubashi; 2. Nipponbashi (bridge); 3. Dotonbori; 4. Ikutama Jinja (生国魂神社); 5. Chobokaku; 6. Shitennoji

1 昔の大阪. 大阪の遊び場. Retrieved on 2008-5-16.

2 Current location of Chobokaku: 浪速区東関谷町の「五階百貨店」.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Unknown
Medium: Albumen Print
Image Number 71205-0005

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 71205-0005 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2008-05-16
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