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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Unbeaten Tracks in Japan • Isabella L. Bird
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan

In 1878, just 19 years after Japan opened it first ports to the world, and a mere ten years after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, an adventurous 47-year old woman from the UK set out to explore the interior of Japan. The country was virtually unknown to Westerners, and a woman traveling only with a guide seemed outrageous. Everybody advised her not to, but she went anyway and wrote this unique and vivid journal of what she saw and experienced.


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Attributing Vintage Photos from Titles


Nobukuni Enami

Enami Nobukuni Titles

Plain block letter style, with breathing room in the black space above and below the letters. Esaki and some others also use the plain block letter style, but the black surround is cut much closer to the letters than with Enami.

Kimbei Kusakabe

Kusakabe Kimbei Titles

Kimbei is distinctive with his thinner block style, the number. (dot / period) and title. There is also a dot at the end.

Adolfo Farsari

Adolfo Farsari Titles

Farsari is all Serif Letter+Numbers with Capital Serif letter titles.

Seibei Kajima

Kajima is Serif Numbers followed by Serif Upper and Lower Case Titles.

Kozaburo Tamamura

Kozaburo Tamamura Titles

Although he didn’t do it for all photos, if you see a “No.” prefix, it’s a Tamamura print.

Many of these guys used each other’s images, so you might see the same photo here and there, but each with the distinctive titling of the several different photographers who “shared” the photos.

1 Many thanks to Rob Oechsle for the background information.