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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Tokyo 1880s • Shintomiza Theater

Shintomiza Theater, Tokyo

Tokyo’s Shintomiza Theater (新富座) was managed by the legendary Morita Kanya (守田勘弥, 1846-1897), who introduced direct ticket sales—which used to be monopolized by theater teahouses—, bright lights and evening performances to the Japanese theater. His experiments and modernizations in both method and content made the Shintomiza Tokyo’s premier theater. When former US president Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was invited to watch kabuki during his 1879 (Meiji 12) stay in Japan, it was this theater that he visited

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1930s • Modern Woman

Young Woman

This is the same woman as in 1930s • Woman with Modern Hairdo, in this image it shows more of her modern dress as well as part of the Western-style studio. For more information, see the earlier mentioned article.

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Hakone 1890s • Three Women in Bath

Three Women Taking a Bath

Two women are squatting next to a bath, while a third sits in the water. This is the same gorgeous onsen resort in Hakone as shown in Hakone 1880s • Two Women in Bathroom. See that article for detailed information.

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1890s • Women Dressing

Women Dressing

A woman sitting on her knees is helping another woman, who is holding a sash, to put on a kimono. The sash will be used to tie the kimono together, after which the obi can be applied.

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