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September 25, 2017

47 Incredible Colorized Photos That Show Everyday Life of Japan in the Late 19 Century

In 1881, after working for many years with the European photographers Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried as a photographic colourist and assistant, the Japanese photographer Kusakabe Kimbei (1841-1934) finally opened his own workshop in the Benten-dōri quarter of Yokohama, and soon established himself as one of the most respected and successful Japanese photographers of his generation.

Kimbei opened another studio in Yokohama's Honmachi quarter in 1889, and also a branch in the Ginza quarter of Tokyo. The selection here is from the collection held by The Getty in Los Angeles, focusing mostly on work from the early part of Kimbei's career.

These hand-colored photographs of Kusakabe Kimbei that show everyday life of Japan in the late 19th century.

Kago travelling chair

Kioto dancing girl

Maker and repairer of Samisens

Mother and child

Peony garden

Picking tea

Pilgrim priests with portable shrine

Playing Go

Porcelain and pottery shops

Reviewing of members of the fire department

Samurai in armour

Sleeping accommodations for two

Sleeping women

Tattooed man

Teaching songs

The Yoshiwara in Tokyo

Theatrical performance


Women drinking tea

Writing letter

A family group

A group of officers of high rank

A pilgrim

A street of shops

A summer costume

A summer day in the woods

A tete-a-tete

An informal, afternoon tea

Boys playing Kotoro

Clothing shop

Cutting leaf tobacco


Dancing girls on temple stage

Dancing girls

Enoshima, a beautiful island off Kamakura, Japan

Farmers wearing rain-coats

Feeding chickens

Gathering shells on the seashore

Geisha playing a flute

Geisha, or singing girls

Girls performing historical dance

Great bell at Chion-In Temple, Kyoto

Hair styling

Itinerant candy seller

Japanese actor

Japanese shoes

Kago bearers


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