Home / HistoryEarly 20th Century Photos of Japan Showcase the Detailed Process of Tea Production

Early 20th Century Photos of Japan Showcase the Detailed Process of Tea Production

In the early 1900s, photographer T. Enami documented the stages of tea production in Shidzuoka, Japan. The colorized images are a fascinating look at the past, depicting the long green tea-making process from its very beginning to end. From these photographs, it’s clear that the workers took a conscientious approach to all their tasks.

The pictures were unearthed through the Presbyterian Archives Research Centre New Zealand. On their Flickr account, they showcase Nobukuni’s detailed images. Green tea production started with field workers picking tea leaves and placing them in giant straw baskets worn around their arms and on their backs. Afterwards, men would dry and roll the leaves. The tea was later sifted, refined, and sorted–by hand and via motor power–and later fired (and refired) in large pans. Women then went through the leaves, picked out any sticks, and packaged them in paper bags, which eventually made their way onto a shipping boat for sale.

This dedication makes you appreciate a simple cup of tea all the more.

Presbyterian Archives Research Centre: Website | Flickr
via [Vintage Everyday]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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