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1890s
The Secret Powers of the Japanese Doll

A five-tiered doll display for hinamatsuri, the doll festival. In this photo from the 1890s the display already looks very similar to the ones that we are familiar with today.

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1890s
14 Rules for Women

Two maiko (apprentice geisha) in gorgeous kimono bow to each other at the entrance gate to Genkyu-en Gardens (玄宮園) in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture. In old Japan, the rules of etiquette were elaborate.

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1910s
Geisha Postcards

During the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05), the Japanese government sent postcards of beautiful Japanese women, bijin ehagaki (美人絵葉書), to soldiers to motivate them. Publishers continued to print them well into the 1920s.

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1890s
Running the Mail

This studio image of a Japanese express courier, or hikyaku (飛脚) is fake. When Kimbei Kusakabe (1841–1934) shot this scene in the 1890s, these near-naked runners had long since vanished.

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1910s
Have Fish, Will Travel

Children admiring the merchandise of a goldfish vendor. From the Edo period (1603–1867) on, street vendors were essential in daily life in Japan. They sold everything from vegetables to gold fish, fireflies and crickets. Even massages and medicine.

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1900s
How do you Wash a Kimono?

Three Japanese women in kimono are doing the laundry. The woman in front is washing clothes in a wooden tub, while the other two are spreading separated kimono on wooden boards. How do you wash a kimono?