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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Samurai: An Illustrated History • Mitsuo Kure
Samurai

A chronological coverage of samurai history detailing the main battles, personnel, weaponry and fortifications. Line drawings of fortifications and armor, and photographs of battle re-enactments conducted by historical re-enactment societies bring the battles back to life.


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1890s • Ceramics and Pottery Shop

Porcelain shop

Three children sit in front of a shop cramped with ceramics and pottery. Inside a boy, probably an apprentice, is using a Soroban (abacus). Lots of teapots and cups can be seen. Under the eaves large plates are on display.

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Kyoto 1920s • Shimabara Tayuu

Shimabara Tayu

A tayuu (high class prostitute) from Shimabara in Kyoto. The area was the licensed prostitution district of Kyoto. Tayuu wore gorgeous costumes that grew ever more ostentatious during the Edo period (1603-1868).

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Tokyo 1920s • Hanayashiki, Asakusa Park

Hanayashiki at Asakusa Park, Tokyo

Asakusa Park was to Meiji Tokyo what Shibuya is today, a place for the middle and lower class masses to go and amuse themselves at low cost. Hanayashiki was the top crowd puller here. Opened as a flower park in 1853 by a gardener named Rokusaburo Morita, it soon began its amazing transformation into an amusement center with tea shops, entertainment and animal exhibits.

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