Kozaburo Tamamura included a photo of Setsubun as part of the New Year celebrations." />

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

  • English
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

    Thanks, Gavin!

  • Gavin Frew

    The reason why a photo of setsubun was included as part of the new year …

Good Book Tip
The Adventure of Japanese Photography 1860 - 1890 • Philipp March, Claudia Delank
The Adventure of Japanese Photography 1860 - 1890

Some 90 old photographs of Japan by celebrated photographers like Felice Beato, Adolpho Farsari, Hikoma Ueno, Kimbei Kusakabe, Kihei Tamamura and Kazumasa Ogawa. A true treasure.

Read Full Article
Buy now at Amazon!
More book tips

Kobe, 1906 • Setsubun

New Year Celebrations

Setsubun is the day before the beginning of each season, but the term is generally used mainly for the spring Setsubun, celebrated at the start of February. Interestingly, in his book The New Year in Japan. Meiji-era photographer Kozaburo Tamamura included a photo of Setsubun as part of the New Year celebrations.

The following is the original text accompanying this photograph:

On the fourth of February another celebration takes place; this being a sport for children, in the form of scrambling for bean, thrown by a man wearing a mask, the latter representing the “God of Fortune.” The beans are thrown high and low in all directions, the “God” exclaiming:

‘The God of Fortune shall stay;
The devil shall be driven away!’1

This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. See all New Year images on Old Photos of Japan.


1 Tamamura, Kozaburo (1906). The New Year in Japan. Tamamura Shashinkan.

Photographer: Kozaburo Tamamura
Publisher: Kozaburo Tamamura
Medium: Collotype Print
Image Number 80115-0048

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 80115-0048 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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

Duits, K. (2009, January 1). Kobe, 1906 • Setsubun, Old Photos of Japan. Retrieved on 2021, Jun 23 from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/659/setsubun

Posted by • 2009-01-01
Add Comment

The reason why a photo of setsubun was included as part of the new year celebrations is that New Year’s Day marked the first day of spring according to the old calendar

#000440 · Gavin Frew · 2010-04-02

Thanks, Gavin!

#000441 · Kjeld Duits (author) · 2010-04-02

Textile help

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