The last days of feudal Japan: Incredible time-capsule photographs show gentle pace of life before the great leap into the modern age
- The series was compiled by German-born American scholar Arnold Genthe, who spent six months in the country
- Even though the rare collection is in black and white, Genthe manages to convey the vibrancy of Japanese life
- Horse drawn carts and markets are featured laden with produce, along with carefree locals swimming in the sea
These rare images reveal what life looked like in Japan in 1908 before the onset of industrialisation and two world wars.
And it looked utterly idyllic. Modern Japan often bowls along at a hectic pace but back then it was more carefree and wistful. Horse drawn carts trundled along streets, locals jumped fully clothed into the sea and children twirled parasols.
The pictures are from a collection compiled by German-born American scholar Arnold Genthe, who roamed the streets, camera in hand, during a six-month stay.
After his death, the Library of Congress in the US acquired around 20,000 unseen photographs from his studio, which was most famous for images of San Francisco’s Chinatown.
These photos are from the Meiji period, which started in 1868 and lasted until 1912 and saw Japan propel itself from a feudal society into a far more modern country.
Now more than a century old, the images are a valuable record of a more serene period in Japan’s history.
Vía Daily Mail