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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Osaka, 1905 • Yodoyabashi Bridge

70219-0003 - Yodobashi Bridge

People and a streetcar cross Yodabashi Bridge in Osaka. The building on the left is the Osaka branch of the Bank of Japan, located on Nakanoshima island. It was designed by Tokyo University Professor Tatsuno Kingo, and completed in January 1903 (Meiji 36).

Across from the Bank of Japan some wooden structures can be seen. Eventually these would be torn down to make way for Osaka City Hall, which was built between 1918 (Taisho 7) and 1921 (Taisho 10).

What makes this postcard especially interesting is the arch in the back. This is the Triumphal Arch in Commemoration of the Victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). The arch was constructed by the Osaka city government on November 30, 1905 (Meiji 38) on the south-east end of Oebashi Bridge on what is now Midosuji Avenue for a total cost of ¥5,000.

70219-0003 - Triumphal Arch in Commeration of the Victory in the Russo-Japanese War

Intended as a temporary construction, it consisted of a framework of wood covered with plaster. Returning Japanese troops marched from Osaka Harbor and passed under it on their way to Osaka Station in Umeda, all the while being cheered by Osaka citizens.

On December 26, only one month after its construction, the Triumphal Arch was destroyed by fire. Neighboring roofs crowded with spectators, the Osaka Fire Department tried heroically to extinguish the fire. But although they put the fire out after one hour, they failed to save the structure.

The Osaka Gas Company which had installed 20 gas lamps on the sides of the arch, was held responsible. The company offered a donation of ¥4,000 for the construction of a new arch, which was completed in March, 1906. Around summer of that year the arch was pulled down.1

Nowadays very few people know that Osaka ever had a Triumphal Arch. People think of Paris or Rome for such things, Osaka is the very last place that comes to mind.

Map of Nakanoshima, Osaka 1903
1903 (Meiji 36) Map of Osaka: 1. Dojima; 2. Dojimagawa River; 3. Tosabori River; 4. Oebashi Bridge; 5. Bank of Japan; 6. Yodoyabashi Bridge; 7. Nakanoshima; 8. Osaka Hotel; 9. Naniwabashi Bridge

1 Yomiuri Shimbun Shakaibu (1987). Scenes of Naniwa: Osaka Time Tunnel. Warajiya Publishing Co., Ltd, 101-104.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Ueda
Medium: Postcard
Image Number 70219-0003

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You can also licence this image online: 70219-0003 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2010-06-29
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