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26 Sensational Color Photos Of 1890s Meiji Japan

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In the 1850s Japan permitted Western barbarians to trade in its ports for the first time in an age. The weird foreigners were corralled in zones of tolerance, unable to roam freely and kept apart from the Japanese. Over the next decades, Westerners would gain more access, exporting images of the warriors, traders, famers and geishas to an intrigued audience back home. Before the 19th Century was out, the feudal period in Japan ended with the Meiji Restoration. After eight centuries of military leadership, the sumurai class was officially abolished. Japan lowered its fans and revealed a country rich and life and culture.

We don’t know who took these superb hand-colored albumen prints of Japan in the 1890s. But thanks to the New York Public Library, we can see them today.


Drawing Water from the Well, Japan, 1890s

Kind of Rope Dancing, Japan 1890s

Kind of Rope Dancing

Carrying rice-bales to market, Japan Spectacle (bridge) at Otani, Kioto, Japan Takaboko Nagasaki, Japan Japan farmer 1890 Akasaka, Tokyo, Japan, vintage Fire Brigade, Japan, 1890

Shiraitono-Taki (A Waterfall) near Fuji Mountain, Japan

Shiraitono-Taki (A Waterfall) near Fuji Mountain

Matsushima, Inland Sea, Japan The Sleeping Girls Japan 1980 Tokaido Japan 1890s Nunobiki Waterfall, at Kobe Meiji Japan photos Bronze Horse Temple Nagasaki Matsushima Inland Sea Tea-Yard at Uzi, Yamashiro The Farmer Planting the Rice Sprouts, Japan, 1890 Meiji Japan woman and baby meiji Japan rice farmers Hancing Bridge (Near Fuji), Japan Waterfall, Yumoto Theatre Street, Yokohama Miyajima, Aki, Japan Kago Travelling Chair Matsushima, Inland Sea Japan