Japan only truly changed after WWII when the country lost the war in the face of the United States and they began to systematically transform it and its people into an Asian-style West. These amazing hand colored postcards from Japan dating back one century, show how Japanese life looked like before its Western influences.
The Digital Collections of the New York Public Library (NYPL) has released a selection of postcards from Japan in the early 20th century. Comprising hand-colored photographs, these landscape snapshots represent the country—specifically the Tokyo and Yokohama regions—and the culture at a time when it was on the cusp of modernity.
Many of the photographs are dated from the years 1907 through 1922. This is significant, as it predates the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and was the largest natural disaster ever sustained by prewar Japan. It was so powerful it moved the Great Buddha statue that weighed about 93 tons.