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.
Good Book Tip
A Career of Japan: Baron Raimund Von Stillfried and Early Yokohama Photography • Luke Gartlan

A Career of Japan is the first study of one of the major photographers and personalities of nineteenth-century Japan. Baron Raimund von Stillfried was the most important foreign-born photographer of the Meiji era and one of the first globally active photographers of his generation. He played a key role in the international image of Japan and the adoption of photography within Japanese society itself.

Buy now at Amazon!
More book tips

1890s • Okosozukin and Furoshiki

Woman in Winter Clothing

In this studio photo, a woman in a thick winter kimono has an okosozukin (御高祖頭巾) wrapped around her head to protect her against the cold. In her hands she holds something wrapped in a furoshiki (風呂敷), a Japanese wrapping cloth. She is wearing geta and her hair is done in a traditional manner.

Okosozukin first became popular during the Kyoho era (1716-1736). They were made of silk crape. Young women wore purple, light purple and red colored okosozukin, while they were dark blue, gray and steel gray for middle-aged women.

Furushiki were used to transport small items like clothes, gifts, a bento box or even merchandise in transport to a customer. During the Edo Period they were used a lot to wrap up ones clothes while taking a bath in the sento. That is how they got their current name, which actually means bath spread. Previously, they were called hiratsutsumi (平包).

Furushiki lost ground to the plastic bag in the postwar period, but thanks to environmental concern they have recently been making a comeback.

Interestingly, the photographer made use of the same backdrop of Mount Fuji as used in Woman in the Rain, Women in Travel Wear and Woman with Umbrella.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Unknown
Medium: Albumen Print
Image Number 80129-0031

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 80129-0031 @ MeijiShowa.com.

Usage of this image requires a reproduction fee.
Posted by • 2008-04-17
Add Comment

Textile help

NOTE: Your e-mail address is required, but will not be displayed.