Amazing Hand-Colored Photographs of Old Japan

1886-1914

These amazing hand-colored photographs of old Japan give us a history lesson about what life was like in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. As an isolationist country opening its doors to the outside world for the first time in more than 200 years, a truly astounding transformation took place and, as fate would have it, photography had just been invented.

According to flickr user Yves Tennevin, the photographs are presumed to be taken by Adolfo Farsari, an Italian photographer who was based in Yokohama, Japan. Following a brief military career, including service in the American Civil War, he became a successful entrepreneur and commercial photographer.

Farsari’s photographic work was highly regarded, particularly his hand-colored portraits and landscapes, which he sold mostly to foreign residents and visitors to the country. His images were widely distributed, presented, and mentioned in books and periodicals. They shaped foreign perceptions of the people and places of Japan and, to some degree, affected how Japanese saw themselves and their country.

His studio, the last notable foreign-owned studio in Japan, was one of the country’s largest and most prolific commercial photographic firms. Largely due to Farsari’s exacting technical standards and his entrepreneurial abilities, it had a significant influence on the development of photography in Japan.


1886-1903


1886-1904


1886-1905


1886-1907


1886-1910


1886-1911


1886-1916


1886-1920


1886-1902


1886-1908


1886-1909


1886-1912


1886-1913


1886-1915


1886-1918


1886-1919


1886-1917


1886-1931


1886-1933


1886-1945


1886-1932


1886-1906


1886-1925


1886-1944


1886-1941


1886-1930

via [Yves Tennevin]





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