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

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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Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan • Herbert P Bix

This rich and powerful biography is now given fresh relevance with a new introduction by the author that explores how Hirohito’s legacy persists in Japan to this day, and how US foreign policy in the region in the last ten years is informed by its troubled past with Japan and with Hirohito as a ruler specifically.


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Tokyo 1934 • Streetcar Passengers

Men and Women Getting on Street Car in Tokyo, Japan (May 1934).

Passengers are getting off a streetcar in Tokyo, while others are waiting. When this photograph was taken in May 1934, Tokyo’s streetcar system was immense and extremely popular, as can be seen from the number of people riding the streetcar on this image.

Tokyo’s horse-drawn streetcars started operations on June 25, 1882. On August 22, 1903, the streetcars were electrified, and the company’s name was changed from Tokyo Horse-drawn Railway to Tokyo Electric Railway (Toden). The company’s first route was between Shinagawa and Shinbashi.

In 1906, the company merged with Tokyo Urban Railway (Gaitetsu) and Tokyo Electric Railway to form the Tokyo Railways. Tokyo City purchased Tokyo Railways in 1911 and renamed it Tokyo City Streetcar. In 1943, the name changed once again, this time to Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation, when Tokyo City was abolished and its administrative functions were taken over by Tokyo Prefecture.

At its peak, Toden operated 41 routes with 213 kilometers of track. As cars increasingly became common, passengers decreased and between 1967 and 1972, 181 km of track was abandoned.

A total closure was avoided when in 1974 the remaining routes were consolidated into the Arakawa Line.

From 1990, things began to look a little bit more positive again for the Tokyo streetcar. That year, new rolling stock was introduced for the first time in 28 years. Ten years later, a new station was added (Arakawa Itchumae). And in 2007, once again new rolling stock was introduced.1

This glass slide is one of a series of slides of Japan that was used by the New York State Education Department to teach students about Japan.

1 Wikipedia, Tokyo Toden. Retrieved on 2008-02-21.

Photographer: Unknown
Publisher: New York State Education Department
Medium: Glass Slide
Image Number 80122-0016

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 80122-0016 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Usage of this image requires a reproduction fee.
Posted by • 2008-03-08
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