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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  • Kjeld Duits

    @Puck: Yes, indeed!

  • Puck

    It’s depressing that beautiful buildings like this are being torn down in this day and age.

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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.

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Kobe 1910s • Kobe City Hall

70301-0020 - Kobe City Hall

Kobe City Hall was located next to the Local District Court, on the former grounds of Hachinomiya Jinja, a shinto shrine. It was Kobe’s second City Office and completed in 1909 (Meiji 42).

The building was designed by Japanese architect Kanenori Akiyoshi, who was also involved in the construction of the Hyogo Prefectural Office (now Hyogo House). He employed the same French Renaissance style his boss Hanjiro Yamaguchi had used for the prefectural office. This explains why the two buildings look so similar.

On the opening day, well-known writer Wenceslau de Moraes gave an opening speech as the representative of the local foreign community.

In 1898 (Meiji 31), de Moraes had deserted his wife and two sons in Macao, and moved to Kobe, where he became consul of Portugal, a post he would hold until 1913 (Taisho 2). For some thirty years he was Portugal’s primary source of information about the East, performing a similar function as the better known Lafcadio Hearn. Although the two covered a lot of the same ground, strangely they never met.

Akiyoshi’s brainchild was used as Kobe’s City Office until September 1945 (Showa 20), when these functions moved to a building on Matsumoto Dori. In 1957 (Showa 32), the city officials moved again to their present location on Flower Road in Sannomiya.

The building somehow survived the intense US firebombing of WWII, but unfortunately it was torn down in 1985 (Showa 60).1

On its location is now a structure used by Kobe’s Public Prosecutor.

1929 Map of Kobe (70509-0003)
1929 (Showa 4) Map of Kobe: 1. Hyogo District Court; 2. Kobe City Hall.


1 Information based on interviews with officials of Kobe City Government.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: Kobe City Hall
Medium: Postcard
Image Number 70301-0020

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 70301-0020 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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

Duits, K. (2010, July 1). Kobe 1910s • Kobe City Hall, Old Photos of Japan. Retrieved on 2021, Dec 06 from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/816/kobe-city-hall

Posted by • 2010-07-01
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