Ever wonder what Japan looked like in the Meiji period? Old Photos of Japan is a curated collection of photos from the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods, roughly 1860-1930. The website is curated by DUITS, boutique journalism and stock photography agency in Tokyo. According to their mission statement,
“You have to know the past,” wrote American Astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), “to understand the present.”
This is especially true for Japan’s dramatic transformation from an isolated feudal country to a modern world power between the 1850s and 1930s. It is during this period that the modern Japan that we know today was born.
Many of the customs that are now called traditional were invented during this time. And many that are still seen as new can trace their origins to this time as well.
Using rare vintage photographs, stereoviews, glass slides, negatives and postcards as a starting point, Old Photos of Japan shows what life, architecture and urban planning was like in Japan during this period.
The photos show not only historic buildings but images of everyday life: weaving, dressing, eating. Each carefully documented photo has an essay explaining the history and location of the image. Additionally, the website is bilingual, which will make finding the Japanese place names easy for research. Definitely useful for visual anthropologists, historians, and photography-lovers alike!