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Kobe 1871
Motomachi 3-Chōme

If you have been to Kobe, you have almost certainly walked down the long covered shopping arcade of Motomachi, Kobe’s most popular shopping street. This is what that street looked like in 1871 (Meiji 4).

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Yokohama 1860s
The Fruits of Fire

On November 26, 1866, a horrifying fire devastated the young settlement of Yokohama. The fire has been largely forgotten, but it gave birth to the urban plan that still defines downtown Yokohama today.

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1907
"The Rice in Japan"

Laborers are loading bales of rice onto river barges. Photographer Teijiro Takagi published this scene in 1907 (Meiji 40) in a photo book about rice cultivation, The Rice in Japan. This article reproduces his book.

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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.