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

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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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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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Kobe, 1906 • New Year Celebrations 13

New Year Celebrations

Several men perform shishi-mai (lion dance) in the courtyard of a shrine. The performers would also dance in front of the homes of the parishioners as a charm against evil spirits and disease, and to pray for good fortune. Shishi-mai probably entered Japan around the 8th century after Japanese diplomats and priests encountered them in China. They are still performed today and it is believed that some 9,000 different variations of shishi-mai exist. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:

To the accompaniment of a flute and a drum, the “lion dance,” is being given; but the “lion” is a two-legged one, somewhat weaker than the “King of the forest.”1

See all New Year images on Old Photos of Japan.


In this interesting clip the lion hands out tangerines using its mouth

Notes

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

Photographer: Kozaburo Tamamura
Publisher: Kozaburo Tamamura
Medium: Collotype Print
Image Number 80115-0037

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 80115-0037 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Reference for Citations

Duits, K. (2009, January 1). Kobe, 1906 • New Year Celebrations 13, Old Photos of Japan. Retrieved on 2021, Oct 26 from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/670/new-year-celebrations-13

Posted by • 2009-01-01
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