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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1890s • Vegetable Vendor

Vegetable Vendor

Studio portrait of a vegetable vendor. The vendor is wearing a bamboo hat and straw raincoat. He carries a pole with baskets filled with vegetables like Japanese radish, lotus roots, Welsh onions, burdocks, onions and carrots.

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1890s • Hairdresser

Hairdresser

A woman dressed in a kimono and facing a mirror has her hair done by a hairdresser. On the floor are tools for hairdressing, especially combs. Many different kinds of combs were used in Japanese hairdressing.

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Osaka 1920s • Tobita Red Light District

Tobita, Osaka

This early 20th century postcard shows brothels in the Tobita Yukaku (prostitution district) of Osaka. The caption says: “The charming samisen (sic) sounding constantly day and night at Tobita prostitute quarter, Osaka.” It wasn’t very charming for the women who worked here.

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Kyoto 1926 • Kamo River

Kamo River and Shimogyou-ku, Kyoto

The Kamo river and the area around Shijo bridge in Kyoto, Japan. The photo is taken from Higashiyama-ku facing south towards Shimogyo-ku. Seen from this vantage point, the area still looks remarkably similar today.

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