Previously, we shared a sampling of the New York Public Library's Japan Photography Collection, which provided a fascinating comparison between the famous sites of modern and early Japan. Now thanks to the same collection, we can take look back on the past that allows us to see the roots of traditional arts and culture in early Japan.

The work represented in these images primarily belongs to Kusakabe Kimbei, a pupil of famous Italian-British photographer Felice Beato, who went on to become an acclaimed photographer of Japan. While many of Kimbei's work focuses on the natural beauty of Japan's cityscapes and sacred spots in the 1800's, this particular album shows us people who traveled about them.

They provide an enlightening resource into a time when photography was still spreading in Japan, and allows us to appreciate the longstanding presence of certain cultural traditions, with some that still survive today and some that were lost in time or streamlined under the modernization of the Meiji Restoration.

Playing Instrument (Shamisen)

A Kabuki Actor

Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestlers

Dress Up

A Rickshaw (Jinrikishaw)

A Palanquin

Playing Instruments and Dancing

A Woman Wearing Winter Clothes

Arranging Flowers

The Game of Go

A Curio Store

Wooden Clogs Shop

A Ceremony

Tea Picking

Gathering Shellfish

A Man with Tattoo

Conversation under the Cherry Tree




By - grape Japan editorial staff.