Kusakabe Kimbei’s Photos of 19th Century Japan

The archives of the New York Public Library hold a hundred or so color photographs by Kusakabe Kimbei that offer a fascinating look at 19th century Japan. From serene landscapes and scenes of everyday life, to cityscapes and landmarks recognizable even today — these photos offer glimpses of Japan and Japanese society in the halcyon days before rapid modernization and industrialization transformed the country forever.


Each image is accompanied by a wealth of information, and the photos are available for download in various sizes. It’s also possible to order photos as art prints. Visit the NYPL Kusakabe Kimbei collection for a nostalgic look at the Japan of yore.

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