help save Japan’s visual heritage of daily life

Kawasaki 1870s
Crossing Japan's 'Raging Rivers'

Three boatmen transport passengers and a rickshaw on the famed ferry at Kawasaki, the second station on the Tōkaidō. Although this scene is peaceful, river crossings rightfully terrified travelers in old Japan.


Minka Floor Plan

Rediscovering Japan’s Irori shows a floor plan of a minka. Here are photos of that minka, a documentary, recommended books, and museums with minka.


Inside 1880s
Rediscovering Japan's Irori

Illustration of a Japanese irori (firepit) by American scholar Edward S. Morse (1838–1925). This article looks at the form of the irori, its location in the house, its drawbacks and dangers, the social roles it reflected, and how it has survived.


Inside 1900s
Staying Warm in (C)Old Japan

A man and a woman are adjusting the fire of an irori (囲炉裏), an open fire centrally located in the main room. For centuries it was the primary source of heat in many Japanese dwellings, as well as the seat and beating heart of family and village life.


Kobe 1900s
Human Conveyor Belt (4)

A very rare view of boats with harbor workers on their way to a steamer at Kobe Harbor, visible in the back. This article looks at how Japanese coaling was done from the workers’ viewpoint.


Nagasaki 1910s
Human Conveyor Belt (3)

An extremely rare onboard view of Japanese women coaling a US cruiser in Nagasaki. The majority of harbor workers coaling ships in Nagasaki were women. In other ports they also played a crucial role.