Amazing Hand Colored Postcards From Japan Dating Back 100 Years

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postcard_Iris_garden_at_Horikiri_Tokyo
Iris garden at Horikiri, Tokyo, 1907 – 1918

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.

(Source)

postcard_Cherry_blossom_at_Mukojima_Tokyo
Cherry blossom at Mukojima, Tokyo, 1907 – 1918
postcard_The_pagoda_of_Toshogu_Nikko
The pagoda of Toshogu, Nikko
postcard_Mihoto_and_Inukimon_Nikko
Mihoto and Inukimon, Nikko
postcard_Omotemon
Omotemon
postcard_Theatre_Street_Yokohama
The Asakusa Park Tokyo, 1922 – colored postcards from Japan
postcard_Toyokuni_Shrine_Nakanoshima_Osaka
Theatre Street, Yokohama, 1907 – 1918
postcard_High_lantern_of_Sumiyoshi_Osaka (1)
High lantern of Sumiyoshi, Osaka, 1907 – 1918
postcard_Hanayashiki_of_Asakusa_at_Tokyo
Hanayashiki of Asakusa at Tokyo, 1907 – 1918
postcard_100_stone_steps_Yokohama
100 stone steps, Yokohama, 1907 – 1918 – colored postcards from Japan
postcard_Nihonbashi_dori_Tokyo
Nihonbashi dor Tokyo, 1922
postcard_The_Asakusa_Park_Tokyo
The Asakusa Park Tokyo, 1922
postcard_Canals_of_Yokohama
Canals of Yokohama, 1922