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Yokohama 1920s
Grandeur at the Grand

Japanese waitresses in kimono stand ready for the tea service in the lounge of Yokohama’s celebrated Grand Hotel, sometime between 1918 and its destruction by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.


Japanese Firefighting

A Japanese firefighting crew (火消組, hikeshigumi) and their tools of the trade. Fires that destroyed whole towns were a common occurrence in old Japan. Over the centuries, countless methods were developed to fight them.


Tokyo 1930
Secrets of Green Tea

Do you drink green tea for its health benefits? You can thank Japanese biochemist Michiyo Tsujimura (辻村みちよ, 1888–1969), Japan’s first female doctor of agriculture, seen here at her research institute in Tokyo in 1930 (Showa 5).


Oiran Courtesan

An oiran (花魁, high class courtesan) of the yūkaku (遊郭, red light district) of Yoshiwara in Tokyo. Her kimono and hairstyle may be gorgeous, but her life could be harsh.


Monkey Trainer

Children observe a traveling monkey trainer and his highly trained Japanese macaque monkey during a sarumawashi (猿回し) performance on a street.


Tokyo 1890s
Wisteria at Kameido Tenjin

People admiring light purple wisteria from the arched bridge at Kameido Tenjin, a celebrated shinto shrine in Tokyo. Did you know that old Tokyo had flower viewing events every month?