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.
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Photography in Japan 1853-1912 • Terry Bennett
Photography in Japan

Terry Bennett has been researching 19th century Japanese photography for over 25 years. In this masterpiece he tells us the story of photography in Japan, using 350 rare images. All the known photographers are introduced with details that you will have trouble finding anywhere else. THE best book about early Japanese photography.

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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
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