Photography was first introduced to Japan not long after its invention, when in the 1850s the nation was opened to Western trade and visitors for the first time in centuries.
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The new Meiji imperial regime instituted a host of changes which brought new technologies and industries into the country, making the latter half of the 19th century a period of rapid change.
The identity of the photographer behind these hand-colored albumen prints of Japan in the 1890s is uncertain. The photos are drawn from an album held by the New York Public Library, and range from posed studio tableau of domestic life to majestic landscapes of the island nation’s natural beauty.