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 Combing Hair

Japanese Woman in Kimono Combing Hair

A young Japanese woman in kimono is combing her hair while looking at a small hand mirror. 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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Kobe 1910s • Motomachi Itchome

Motomachi Itchome, Kobe

Shops and rickshaws at Motomachi itchome in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture Japan. The shop with the elephant is Zouki. It was established in 1875 (Meiji 8) by Kihei Sodeoka. Sodeoka was a ronin, a former samurai, from Satsuma.

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1920s • Woman with Parasol

Japanese Woman with Parasol

An almost melancholic image of a young Japanese woman with a traditional Japanese hairstyle holding a paper parasol. During the early 20th century, picture postcards of bijin (beautiful women) were extremely popular in Japan (see Woman with Rose)

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Nagasaki 1890s • Amidabashi Bridge

Amida Bridge and Korai Bridge on Nakashima River, Nagasaki

A beautiful romantic view on Amidabashi (Amida Bridge) over Nagasaki’s Zeniyagawa (Zeniya River, nowadays called Nakashimagawa), photographed between 1883 and 1897. In front of Amidabashi is a well. Buckets are seen, but no people. Possibly because of the long exposure time used by the photographer. The bridge in the back is Koraibashi. Rocks and boulders strewn all over the river bed create an image of wild untamed nature, right in the middle of the city of Nagasaki.

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