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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Art And Artifice: Japanese Photographs Of The Meiji Era • Sebastian Dobson, Anne Nishimura Morse, Frederic Sharf
Art And Artifice

A brief introduction to Meiji-era photographs and to the world in which they flourished. Three essays and dozens of images explore the social function of these photos, their remarkable artistry, and the personal stories of those who collected and preserved these images.


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1890s • Woman Cooking

Woman Cooking

In this studio photo of daily kitchen work, a woman wearing a hokkaburi (頬っ被り, headwear) is grinding something in an earthenware suribachi (mortar). Daikon (radish) and a knife lay on the mainata (wooden board). Next to the mainata is a meshibitsu (rice tub). On the other side is an oke (wooden bucket) and a kago (reed basket).

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Osaka 1930s • Central Wholesale Market

Osaka Central Wholesale Market

A panoramic view of the Osaka Central Wholesale Market in Osaka, which played a major role in establishing a stable food market in Osaka and surroundings.

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Yokohama 1910s • Yokohama Pier

70206-0006 - Yokohama Pier

People in Japanese and Western style dress walk on the pier in Yokohama Harbor. A steamship can be seen in the back, spewing black smoke from its smokestack. The red brick building in the back housed the Yokohama Customs Office Inspection Bureau and was built in 1894. It was designed by Japanese architect Yorinaka Tsumaki (1859-1916), who also designed Yokoahama Shokin Ginko (1904) and the famous Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse (1911).

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