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

    Thanks, Rob. I guess it takes somebody who is really into photographs of this period to …

  • Rob Oechsle

    That is a really wonderful image.

1930s • Modern Woman

Young Woman

This is the same woman as in 1930s • Woman with Modern Hairdo, in this image it shows more of her modern dress as well as part of the Western-style studio. For more information, see the earlier mentioned article.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Unknown
Medium: Silver Gelatin Print
Image Number 80128-0016

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 80128-0016 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2009-05-20
Add Comment

That is a really wonderful image.

# Rob Oechsle · 2009-05-24

Thanks, Rob.


I guess it takes somebody who is really into photographs of this period to appreciate a photo like this. There is a great story attached to this photo. I found a batch of photos, including this one, at a temple market in Osaka. I immediately fell in love with them, but for some weird money-pinching reason only bought a few of them. The moment I got home and looked at them again, I regretted it. One month later I went back to the same market, found the vendor, but he told me that he had sold the other ones. Regret, regret, regret.


Fast forward some two years, New Year’s in Kyoto. Some old friends who used to live in Japan are visiting and we decide to visit a huge temple market in Kyoto which is famous for its New Years’ Market. One of my friends calls me to a stand saying that he just found some great photographs that he thinks I will really like. Expecting to be disappointed I slowly stroll to the stall, and immediately recognize the vendor. Yes, the same guy of two years ago. Something begins to tingle in my back as I move towards my friend and point my eyes towards his hands. In his hands he holds the very same photographs that I didn’t buy two years earlier. Naturally, this time I buy them all.


How about that? It is almost like a fairy-tale, don’t you think? I told my friends that if you found a scene like this in a movie you’d walk out disgusted with the schmaltz and improbability.


Good improbable things do happen sometimes.

# Kjeld Duits · 2009-05-24








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