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Two men are clowning around as part of the entertainment seen during Meiji Period (1868-1912) New Year celebrations. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:
Ping! Pong! These men are acting similar to the foreign pantomine [sic] clowns; they parade the streets, performing various antics, peculiar to custom, and they shout “Hail! Hail! ye Gods of Heaven and earth. Significant omens are in the air, and the universe is full of lucky signs.” 
See all New Year images on Old Photos of Japan.
1 Tamamura, Kozaburo (1906). The New Year in Japan. Tamamura Shashinkan.