License all the photos on this site at our boutique photo agency for vintage photographs, illustrations and maps of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s (Meiji, Taisho, early Showa)
For more detailed information about albumen photos and their coloring I can recommend the following …
And this is how it looks over a hundred years after the coloring was actually …
The coloring is very well done.
Japan secretly invented color film long before the West. No just kidding! Photographers in Japan …
How come these photos are in color?
The area between Isezakicho and Nigiwai-cho was known among foreigners as Theater Street. Since around 1877 (Meiji 10), the street was filled with theaters, teahouses and restaurants which attracted lots of crowds and made this one of Yokohama’s most lively areas of the middle of the Meiji Period (1868-1912). This photograph shows the area around Isami-za theater (勇座) in Matsugae-cho (松ヶ枝町, current Isezaki-cho 2-chome) as it looked sometime between 1887 (Meiji 20) and 1897 (Meiji 30). In 1899 (Meiji 32) the area burnt down and all this vanished forever.
When you see all these flags advertising the theaters, productions and certain artists you understand Japan’s current love affair with neon signs. They are really electrified flags. I think that I prefer the flags, I just love how they move in the wind and the sounds they make. They are a whole lot better for the environment, too.
For more information about Isezaki-cho and to see a photo of the same area during the 1910s, read Yokohama 1910s • Isezaki-cho 2-chome.