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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Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People • William W. Fitzhugh et al
Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People

Japan’s indigenous people, the Ainu, inhabited Hokkaido, the Kurile Islands, southern Sakhalin Island, and a portion of northern Honshu. They had a unique culture and language, completely separate from that of the Japanese. By the middle of the 19th century, the destruction of this ancient culture was set in motion by Japan’s national government.


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Good Book Tip:

The Adventure of Japanese Photography 1860 - 1890

by Philipp March, Claudia Delank — Kehrer Verlag
The Adventure of Japanese Photography 1860 - 1890

In 22 pages of text, Claudia Delank, a specialist in East Asian Art, covers the photography of 19th century Japan. Celebrated photographers like Felice Beato, Adolpho Farsari, Hikoma Ueno, Kimbei Kusakabe, Kihei Tamamura and Kazumasa Ogawa are introduced as they create images of Japan for a Western audience eager to find out more about this as yet largely unknown country.

Many of these images were specifically staged in studios to please Western expectations. They were then hand-colored and compiled in richly ornamented lacquer albums. This books features 90 full page footnoted plates of hand colored albumen photographs from the March Collection. In many cases the photographer is mentioned as well. What makes this book especially attractive are the rare albumen photographs of flowers.

It is a true delight to see these beautiful images from a time when traveling to Japan was still a real adventure.


Posted by • 2008-10-08
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