After the Meiji Restoration, photographs became almost as popular as woodblock prints. By the 1890s, there were well over 800 professional photography studios in Japan, primarily situated in the port towns of Yokohama and Nagasaki, but also rapidly expanding to the major urban center of Tokyo. Photographers of this period often relied on traditional pictorial subjects from painting and ukiyo-e, but they were also inventive and artistic: ranging from studio photography of beautiful women (bijin), to Mt Fuji in the mist, to the famous sites of the Tokaido Road, to depicitions of cherry blossoms and temples, and urban scenes of shopkeepers, rickshaws, and peddlers. The Ronin Gallery is pleased to open up our own portal into the world of Old Japan with our collection of Japanese Meiji Photography. These images of traditional Japan still hold the same magic as they did when the world first saw them over 120 years ago.

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