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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Kobe, 1906 • New Year Celebrations 8

New Year Celebrations

Kadomatsu (door pine) is a decoration for Japanese New Year. Kadomatsu are displayed next to the entrance during the first week of the year. The pine represents continuity, the bamboo straightness and sincerity. Kadomatsu can be seen all over Japan, except near Ikuta Jinja in Kobe. Reportedly because the kami of the shrine showed his dislike of kadomatsu by washing the ones near the shrine away during a flood in the eighth century. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:

It is barely daylight, and already the people are emerging from their homes, to inhale the fresh air of a New Year (and winter, in Japan, is but a kind of cold summer, so far as blue skies is concerned), and to pay complimentary visits (a veritable boredom to many level-minded people) to folk they greet thus but once a year! Please observe the bamboo decorations in front of each dwelling.1

The location appears to be Fukuhara, Kobe’s famed prostitution quarter.

See all New Year images on Old Photos of Japan.

1 Tamamura, Kozaburo (1906). The New Year in Japan. Tamamura Shashinkan.

Photographer: Kozaburo Tamamura
Publisher: Kozaburo Tamamura
Medium: Collotype Print
Image Number 80115-0032

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You can also licence this image online: 80115-0032 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2009-01-01
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