OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN, a photo blog of Japan in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods

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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.
Good Book Tip
The Journey of “A Good Type”: From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs • David Odo

In this elegant volume, visual anthropologist David Odo examines the Peabody’s collection of Japanese photographs and the ways in which such objects were produced, acquired, and circulated in the nineteenth century.

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Attributing Vintage Photos from Titles

Nobukuni Enami

Enami Nobukuni Titles

Plain block letter style, with breathing room in the black space above and below the letters. Esaki and some others also use the plain block letter style, but the black surround is cut much closer to the letters than with Enami.

Kimbei Kusakabe

Kusakabe Kimbei Titles

Kimbei is distinctive with his thinner block style, the number. (dot / period) and title. There is also a dot at the end.

Adolfo Farsari

Adolfo Farsari Titles

Farsari is all Serif Letter+Numbers with Capital Serif letter titles.

Seibei Kajima

Kajima is Serif Numbers followed by Serif Upper and Lower Case Titles.

Kozaburo Tamamura

Kozaburo Tamamura Titles

Although he didn’t do it for all photos, if you see a “No.” prefix, it’s a Tamamura print.

Many of these guys used each other’s images, so you might see the same photo here and there, but each with the distinctive titling of the several different photographers who “shared” the photos.

1 Many thanks to Rob Oechsle for the background information.