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.

Share this Page
About
Recent Comments  

Osaka 1870s-1880s • View from Enokojima

Enokojima and Osaka City View

A beautiful and extremely rare—I haven’t seen this photo anywhere else yet—panoramic view of Osaka from the Osaka Prefectural Office, looking towards the North East. During the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) periods, Osaka’s Prefectural Office was located on the small island of Enokojima, between the Kizugawa River and the Hyakkenbori Canal. Completed in July 1874 (Meiji 7), the gorgeous Neo-Renaissance style building featured a dome on top. Next to the building stood a tall tower. The photographer somehow managed to lug his heavy and cumbersome equipment to the top level to preserve this incredible view of Edo-style Osaka for future generations.

Read Full Article (Features Map!) | Add Comment [2]

1890s • Farmer with Loaded Horse

Farmer with Loaded Horse

Looking at the huge amount of cargo this horse is carrying, you’d expect the poor animal to keel over any moment. Japanese horses, in spite of their small size, were as strong as European horses, though, and regularly carried enormous loads. It also looks like this particular cargo consists of charcoal, so the load is probably not as heavy as it appears from the volume. Notice the flimsy “horse shoes.” They were made of straw, and naturally wore out extremely quickly.

Read Full Article | Add Comment

Osaka 1910s • Shinsaibashi Bridge

Shinsaibashi Bridge, Osaka

The Shinsaibashi Bridge in Osaka’s Minami district sometime during the 1910s. The Bridge was named after Shinsai Okada, one of four merchants who dug the Nagahori canal that flowed below the bridge. This image shows the stone bridge which in 1909 (Meiji 42) replaced the steel bridge built in 1873 (Meiji 6). For a photo of the steel bridge, and the history of Shinsaibashi Bridge, see Osaka 1890s • Shinsaibashi Bridge.

Read Full Article (Features Map!) | Add Comment

1904 • Feeding Silk Worms

Two Japanese Women Feeding Silk Worms

Two Japanese women are feeding voracious silk worms. Just look at how huge the basket is that the woman is pulling leaves from. After silkworm eggs were hatched in an incubator, the young worms were moved to a feeding room like the one in this image. At first they were fed mulberry leaves that had been made into an ash. Later they were fed on chopped leaves, and eventually full-sized leaves, as seen here.

Read Full Article | Add Comment [1]