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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Recent Comments  
  • Kjeld Duits

    @Chris: Good point. I have assumed it is just name. The name of the …

  • Chris

    Hmm, the description lists this as Kyoto… but the sign clearly says Kawagoe, which is …

  • Kjeld Duits

    @tokyo2la: There are kanji above the “Kawagoe Tansu” sign. The ones in the windows. They …

  • tokyo2la

    But doesn’t the sign say “Kawagoe Tansu”?

  • Kjeld Duits

    Great find! I had completely ignored that sign… Looks like it was quite large, indeed.

Kyoto 1934 • Furniture Store

Furniture Store in Kyoto, Japan (May 1934).

A furniture store in Kyoto in May 1934. Notice the tricycles and prams. Both are articles that you would not expect at a furniture store. The classical street lamp is a wonderful work of art. Another interesting aspect are the many chairs on display. Western influences have clearly already deeply penetrated the Japanese lifestyle in the early 1930s, only some 80 years after Commodore Perry forced Japan to open up to the world in July, 1853.

This glass slide is one of a series of slides of Japan that was used by the New York State Education Department to teach students about Japan. The New York State Education Department collected photographs of life in a large number of countries and the collection ran into many thousands. These slides were loaned to schools throughout New York State from 1856 to 1939. They were one of the earliest uses of audio-visual techniques for classroom instruction.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: New York State Education Department
Medium: Glass Slide
Image Number: 80122-0015

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You can also licence this image online: 80122-0015 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2009-07-05
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Interesting photo. The large sign above the furniture shop says (in the old right-to-left style) “Shinko Chuo Mahjongg”. Presumably that is a large mahjongg parlor located above the furniture store? Probably is if the 3 characters on the sign at the entrance on the right of the photo are related.

# tokyodusk · 2009-07-11

Great find! I had completely ignored that sign… Looks like it was quite large, indeed.

# Kjeld Duits · 2009-07-15

But doesn’t the sign say “Kawagoe Tansu”?

# tokyo2la · 2010-02-08

@tokyo2la: There are kanji above the “Kawagoe Tansu” sign. The ones in the windows. They advertise the “Shinko Chuo Mahjong” parlor.

# Kjeld Duits · 2010-02-08

Hmm, the description lists this as Kyoto… but the sign clearly says Kawagoe, which is in Saitama north of Tokyo? I suppose it could just be a name.

# Chris · 2010-11-16

@Chris: Good point. I have assumed it is just name. The name of the location was printed on the slide itself, together with the date the photo was taken. Considering the original source (New York State Education Department), I consider it highly reliable.

# Kjeld Duits · 2010-11-16








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