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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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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Osaka 1880s • Dotonbori Canal

Dotonbori Canal and Ebisubashi Bridge, Osaka (Photo by Adolfo Farsari)
Ebisubashi 2009
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The Dotonbori canal and Ebisubashi (Ebisu Bridge) in Osaka’s famed entertainment district. Wooden teahouses crowd the left side of the canal. Italian born photographer Adolfo Farsari shot this photograph sometime between 1877 and 1887 facing east. At the time, the city experienced a high level of prosperity as can be seen by the presence of gas lamps on the right side of the bridge.

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Tokyo 1934 • Streetcar Passengers

Men and Women Getting on Street Car in Tokyo, Japan (May 1934).

Passengers are getting off a streetcar in Tokyo in May 1934, while others are waiting. At the time that this photograph was taken, Tokyo’s streetcar system was immense and extremely popular, as can be seen from the number of people riding the streetcar on this image.

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Tokyo 1934 • Sidewalk Restaurants

Japan. Tokyo. Sidewalk Restaurants. (May 1934)

Employees pose in front of Tokyo sidewalk restaurants on a sunny day in May, 1934. The delivery bicycle belongs to Yanase Sushi (the shop with the white sign with red kanji).

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