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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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)

1890s • Having a Party

Group of Men Having a Party

This hilarious scene, shot in the studio, recreates a group of working-class men having a wild party. The man on the right is dressed up like a woman and is “playing” a broom, while the man on the left appears to be “playing percussion” with his chopsticks. The person next to him is serving himself sake, and the young man in the middle is about to put some food in his mouth. The man between him and the “musician” is reading lyrics from a book. The floor in front of the group is covered with dishes filled with food. The expressions on the faces of these partying people are really wonderful and make this a very special photograph.

It is amazing how closely this scene resembles the stereotypical image of partying salariman during Japan’s bubble economy in the 1980s. But instead of a piece of cloth, they wound their necktie around their head.

Detail of 70613-0007
Detail of photo: a man dressed up as a woman is using a broom like a shamisen.

Photographer: Kimbei Kusakabe
Publisher: J B Millet Company
Medium: Albumen Print
Image Number 70613-0007

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You can also licence this image online: 70613-0007 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2008-06-26
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