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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Good Book Tip
Geisha: Women of Japan's Flower & Willow World • Tina Skinner, Mary L. Martin
Geisha: Women of Japan's Flower & Willow World

Over 500 beautiful photographs and postcards, mostly of between 1900 and 1940, take you back to Japan’s now-extinct licensed pleasure districts. You will keep opening up this book again and again. A beauty!


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The Journey of “A Good Type”: From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs

by David Odo — Peabody Museum Press

When Japan opened its doors to the West in the 1860s, delicately hand-tinted photographic prints of Japanese people and landscapes were among its earliest and most popular exports.

Renowned European photographers Raimund von Stillfried and Felice Beato established studios in Japan in the 1860s; the work was soon taken up by their Japanese protégés and successors Uchida Kuichi, Kusakabe Kimbei, and others.

Hundreds of these photographs, collected by travelers from the Boston area, were eventually donated to Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, where they were archived for their ethnographic content and as scientific evidence of an “exotic” culture.

In this elegant volume, visual anthropologist David Odo examines the Peabody’s collection of Japanese photographs and the ways in which such objects were produced, acquired, and circulated in the nineteenth century.

His innovative study reveals the images’ shifting and contingent uses―from tourist souvenir to fine art print to anthropological “type” record―were framed by the desires and cultural preconceptions of makers and consumers alike.

Understood as both images and objects, the prints embody complex issues of history, culture, representation, and exchange.


Posted by • 2019-08-31
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