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

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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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1890s • Kago Bearers Taking a Break

Kago Bearers and Customer Taking a Break

During a break, two kago bearers smoke kiseru pipes while their customer is being served tea by a waitress from a teahouse. The woman’s luggage is tied to the roof of the kago. During the Edo Period, (1603-1868) only samurai were allowed to ride horses, while horse carriages were unknown. The kago therefore was Japan’s main mode of transportation until the invention of the jinrikisha (rickshaw) around 1868. The jinrikisha quickly replaced the kago in the cities (Tokyo for example had already some 56,000 jinrikisha in 18721), but its use continued in mountainous areas where the jinrikisha was often not practical.

The kago customer would squat in a semi-recumbent posture. Japanese were used to this, accustomed as they were to sitting on the floor. But to many foreign visitors, the kago was a painful experience about which they often complained in their diaries.

See another image of a kago at 1880s • Woman in Kago.

1 March, Roger (2007). How Japan Solicited the West: The First Hundred Years of Modern Japanese Tourism. University of New South Wales, 2.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Unknown
Medium: Albumen Print
Image Number 70606-0004

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You can also licence this image online: 70606-0004 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2008-11-10
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