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Japanese Woman Cooking, 1890s

Woman Cooking

Artist Unknown
Publisher Unknown
Medium Albumen Print
Period Meiji
Location Studio
Image No. 80129-0048
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A lovely studio photo of daily kitchen work in late 19th century Japan.

A woman wearing a hokkaburi (頬っ被り, headwear) is grinding something in an earthenware suribachi (すり鉢, mortar). Daikon (大根, radish) and a knife lay on the manaita (まな板, wooden cutting board). Next to the manaita is a meshibitsu (飯櫃, rice tub). On the other side is an oke (桶, wooden bucket) and a kago (かご, reed basket).

The suribachi was, and often still is, an important tool in the Japanese kicthen. It was especially used for grinding sesame seeds or mashing miso.

Japanese hairstyles were extremely elaborate and contained a lot of wax. Housewives and working women used the hokkaburi to protect their hair from dust and dirt while working.


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Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). 1890s: Woman Cooking, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on June 26, 2022 (GMT) from

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