Vintage Japanese Photography

Photography was introduced to Japan in 1848 and it didn’t take long for it to become popular with the masses. Beginning in 1870, the number of photography studios rapidly increased and the production of photographic albums became a booming business. Images of famous views and famous places became popular subjects, as well as more domestic settings. Most of these early photographs were painstakingly hand-colored by skilled practitioners. The photographs presented here date from the late 19th century or early 20th century. (Read more at Wikipedia…)

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Featured Vintage Photographers


Kusakabe Kimbei was a Japanese photographer whose clientele was mostly non-Japanese-speaking foreign residents and visitors. He worked as a photographic colourist and assistant before opening his own workshop in Yokohama in 1881. He stopped working as a photographer in 1912-1913. (Read more at Wikpedia…)


Enami Nobukuni (Trade name – T. Enami, 1859 – 1929) was a Meiji period Japanese photographer. Enami was the only photographer of that period known to work in all popular formats, including the production of large-format photographs compiled into what are commonly called “Yokohama Albums”. His images in all formats eventually appeared in books and periodicals having press runs in the millions. (Read more at Wikipedia…)

Special Vintage Features


As Japan became more and more westernised in the early part of the 20th century, advertising became an important part of the new modern Japan. Department stores, particularly, became important avenues for promoting new trends and lifestyles. Most of the beautiful advertising posters in this gallery date from the 1920s and 1930s. (Read more…)


These beautiful hand-colored postcards from the early 20th century portray geisha girls participating in traditional Japanese activities such as the tea ceremony, ikebana, and playing traditional instruments, among other things. But the thing that really stands out are the rich colors of their kimonos. 

VIEW More Vintage Japanese Postcards on flickriver

VIEW “Haunting Postcards of Apprentice Geishas”

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