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May 8, 2016

Rare Vintage Photographs of Japan's Daily Life Taken by Arnold Genthe in 1908

Born in Germany to a family of scholars, Arnold Genthe (1869-1942) was a recent Ph.D. in classical philology when he came to the United States in 1895 to work for two years as a tutor.

On his days off, he walked the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco, where he began to photograph. After publishing some of these images in local magazines, Genthe decided to open his own studio, specializing in portraits of prominent locals and visiting celebrities.

Back in 1908, Genthe spent six months in Japan, documenting the everyday life of Japanese during the Meiji period. After his death, the Library of Congress acquired approximately 20,000 never before seen photographs from his studio, and buried in the collection were these rare photos from 1908 Japan, during the Meiji period.


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