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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Good Book Tip
Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan • Philip Hu et al

This fascinating publication showcases the Saint Louis Art Museum’s collection of Japanese military prints and related materials―one of the largest collections of such works in the world.


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1920s • Woman with Hand to Chin

Portrait of Japanese Woman in Kimono

A young Japanese woman in kimono and traditional hairstyle is holding her hand to her chin, a gesture often seen on photos, illustrations and ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) from the Meiji and Taisho periods.

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1910s • Woman with Photo Album

Japanese Woman in Kimono Looking at Postcards

A young Japanese woman in kimono and traditional hairstyle is looking at an album with photos or postcards. This postcard was published sometime between 1907 and 1918. During the early 20th century, picture postcards of bijin (beautiful women) were extremely popular in Japan (see Woman with Rose)

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1910s • Woman with Folding Fan

Japanese Woman in Kimono Holding a Fan

A young Japanese woman in kimono and traditional hairstyle is holding a sensu (folding fan). This postcard was published sometime between 1907 and 1918. During the early 20th century, picture postcards of bijin (beautiful women) were extremely popular in Japan (see Woman with Rose)

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