This studio photo reconstructs the work place of a lantern and umbrella craftsman and his assistant.
The name of the shop is Tojo (東城). The craftsman is writing on a lantern, while his assistant is coloring a paper umbrella. That Japanese umbrellas were made of paper never ceased to amaze Western visitors.
Actually, paper had an incredible number of uses in Japan. Often in ways that Westerners could hardly imagine. The January 1900 issue of the American monthly magazine Popular Science featured an article1 that delved into the unique properties of Japanese paper, while predicting its imminent demise due to “European methods of manufacture:”
1 “Fragments of Science: Japanese Paper.” Popular Science, Jan 1900, Vol. 56, No. 23, Bonnier Corporation: 389-390.
Reference for Citations
Duits, Kjeld (). 1890s: Lantern Craftsman, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on January 29, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/417/lantern-craftsman
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This photo of a crowd walking past shops along the approach to the Buddhist temple Senso-ji was taken some time in May 1934. Notable is that while most men and even the children already wear Western clothing, the women still wear kimono.