OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN, a photo blog of Japan in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods

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.
Recent Comments  
  • Kjeld Duits

    Hi Thomas, what is the link?

  • thomas fullman

    have posted 70+ photographs on googles picasa website 1850 Photographs of China & Japan

Good Book Tip
Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road • Anne Lacoste, Fred Ritchin

Felice Beato (1832–1909) lived and worked in Japan from 1863 through 1884, just as the country opened its doors to the world. He was extremely active in Japan, and portrayed the Japanese with dignity and as equals of Westerners. He was the first photographer in Japan to sell albums of his works. Most likely, it was Beato that introduced the later so diligently followed concept of “views” and “types” to photography of Japan.

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1890s • Woman Writing with Brush

Japanese Woman in Kimono Writing a Letter

A woman wearing a kimono is writing a letter with a brush. A box to place brushes and sumi (ink), and an andon lamp are on the tatami (rice mats). In the back hangs a kakejiku (hanging scroll).

The Japanese writing system was introduced to Japan from China in the 4th century AD. Initially, the Chinese characters were only used for reading and writing Chinese. Around the mid seventh century, or possibly earlier, a writing system was developed which used Chinese characters to represent the Japanese language. This was called Manyogana (万葉仮名). The name has been derived from the Manyoshu, a Japanese poetry anthology from the Nara Period (710-794).

The Meiji Period (1868-1912) saw a range of important transformations in the use of written Japanese. The Genbunitchi (言文一致) movement, for example, resulted in using a colloquial form to write. Previously, a classical style had been used. Additionally, in 1900, the Education Ministry standardized the hiragana script and limited the number of kanji (Chinese characters) taught in elementary schools to about 1,200.

More significant reform followed after the end of WWII, when conservatives were removed from control of the educational system. Undoubtedly, the most important reforms were limiting the number of kanji students learn at Japanese high-schools to just 1,850, and changing the direction from right-to-left to left-to-right.

Photographer: Kimbei Kusakabe
Publisher: Unknown
Medium: Albumen Print
Image Number 70614-0004

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 70614-0004 @ MeijiShowa.com.

Usage of this image requires a reproduction fee.
Reference for Citations

Duits, K. (2008, June 24). 1890s • Woman Writing with Brush, Old Photos of Japan. Retrieved on 2021, Sep 26 from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/277/woman-writing-with-brush

Posted by • 2008-06-24
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have posted 70+ photographs on googles picasa website 1850 Photographs of China & Japan

#000137 · thomas fullman · 2008-07-24

Hi Thomas, what is the link?

#000138 · Kjeld Duits (author) · 2008-07-24

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