Resource: Dietrich Seckel’s Photo Archive (1936-1942)

Haruna Shrine, as photographed by Dietrich Seckel

Those interested in everyday life in Japan during World War II may be interested in the University of Heidelberg’s digital archive of photographs by German art historian Dietrich Seckel.

Credited as one of the leading figures in establishing art historical studies of East Asia in Germany, Seckel lectured on German literature in Japanese schools from 1937 to 1947, including at what is today Tokyo University. He later returned to Germany and worked on Japanese art and architecture.

This digital archive of his black and white photographs includes amateur shots he took from 1936 to 1942. These candid photos of acquaintances, architecture, and nature capture a more serene view of Japan than one might typically think of for this period. All of the photos (some 970 of them) are can be perused at the archive website and are available for download. They can be navigated by keyword or categorical searches. Enjoy!


About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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