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Home » Archives » January 2007 » Cool Sites : Old Japan

Cool Sites : Old Japan

Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 01:45 PM JST

Compared with Europe, there is surprisingly little left of pre-war Japanese architecture. It is very hard to imagine what Japan looked like a hundred years ago, let lone several hundred years ago. Luckily, there are many photographic images of old Japan. Some remain in their original form, others only exist as vintage postcards. Here is a list of some sites with collections of such photography:

Japanese Old Photographs
Online database of old photos from the collection of Nagasaki University Library. Mainly taken from the 1860s to the 1890s and colored by professional painters. Recommended! (ENG JPN)

101 Views of old Nagasaki
101 Views of old Nagasaki (ca 1910s) from old hand tinted postcards. (ENG)

NYPL: Japan
Digital archive of documents and photographs at The New York Public Library. Lots of images of people, but also a large number of views of cities, villages and landscapes. Recommended! (ENG)

Old Tokyo
An introduction to Meiji, Taisho and early Showa Tokyo (roughly early 1900s), using vintage postcards. A gem of a site, bringing the old capital back to live in a wonderful manner. (ENG)

Old Japan
UK-based company buying and selling 19th Century photographs of Japan, China and Korea. Site features a large database of images. (ENG)

Albumenimages.com
Dealer of antique albumen photographs. Has a very impressive selection of Japanese photographs. Highly recommended! (ENG)

Kyoto Kitayama Archives
Large collection of old photographs and maps of Kyoto in the archives of Kyoto Prefectural Library. The site is difficult to get used to if you don't read Japanese, but it is worth the investment. (JPN)

Summer in Japan, A
Stereoviews of Japan ca 1877 by photographer William Henry Metcalf. (ENG)

History of Japan from 1800, The
A few photographs of Japan from the Meiji Period on the site of the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University. (ENG)

Photographic Views of Meiji
Brief, but educational, introduction to photography of the Meiji Period by Richard Gadd is the Director of the The Monterey Museum of Art. (ENG)

Old Japanese Postcards
Black and white or hand coloured postcards from approx. 1900 to 1920 from the collection of Anker Nielsen. Site design is very dated, but the postcards are beautiful. (ENG)

Furu Ehagaki Sanpo
The name of the site says it all: a stroll with old postcards. Japan of the early 20th century as recorded by photographers who sold their work as beautiful hand-tinted postcards. (JPN)

Lost Hotels of Japan, The
A beautiful collection of postcards of early 20th century Western style hotels in Japan. None of these exist anymore, so these postcards and this site are a quiet testament. (JPN)

Scenic Mementos of Japan
Images, mainly from before the invention of the photograph, of scenes from the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century Japan are digitized and linked together by region, period, and selected topics. Mostly woodblock prints showing a Japan that has long vanished. (ENG JPN)

Old Photographs
Hundreds of links to sites with vintage photographs. (JPN)

Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links. Special section for historical documents of Japan. Also search for "photographs" and "postcards".

Keywords: cool_sites

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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Stone Bridge Press

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