Vintage Photos Reveal What Daily Life in Yokohama Looked Like Over 100 Years Ago

Today, Yokohama is Japan's second largest city by population, with a booming port industry. These charming images of Yokohama at the turn of the 20th century confirm its history as an international city, with an influx of industrial technology and foreign influence during this period. After the Meji Restoration of 1868, Yokohama developed from a small fishing village to an important port with a silk trade connected to Great Britain.

The photographs, found in the album of a presumed German tradesman living and working in the area around 1908, show a city in flux, caught between tradition and modernity. Artisans worked on embroidery, textiles, and silver cloisonné for foreign export, demonstrating the foreign appetite for Japanese goods during this period. Steamships arrived to the port while animal labor continued to be used in agriculture.

The images also preserve a Yokohama that was largely destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, providing precious insight into a Japan subject to natural disaster, whether it be flood, fire, or earthquake.

via [Vintage Everyday]

All images via Wolfgang Wiggers.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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