How Japan was 75 years ago…

5 Feb

I like photo exhibits.
I usually go to the annual Press Photos Exhibit in downtown Tokyo every December.

There is currently another photo exhibit in Tokyo that I want to see.

The 「警視庁カメラマンが撮った昭和モダンの情景 ・ 石川光陽写真展」 (“Koyo Ishikawa – Documentary Photographs of the Showa  Era by a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Cameraman”) exhibit.

石川光陽 (Koyo Ishikawa) was a photographer with the Tokyo Police Department and was tasked with taking photographs of the city just prior to, during, and after World War II.

Tokyo Police photographer, Koyo Ishikawa

The period of time that Mr. Ishikawa lived and photographed is called the 昭和時代 (Showa Era) in Japan. This period was from late 1926 until early 1989.

I came to Japan in 1990…just after the Showa Era ended, but I’m very interested in this period of Japan’s history. So I’m planning to go to this photo exhibit.

The 「警視庁カメラマンが撮った昭和モダンの情景 ・ 石川光陽写真展」 (“Koyo Ishikawa – Documentary Photographs of the Showa Era by a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Cameraman”) photo exhibit is currently at the “Old Shinbashi Station” which is near 新橋駅 (Shinbashi train station) in Tokyo.
It will be there until 2011 March 21st. The hours are 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM and is open everyday except Mondays.

Admission is free of charge.

Here are some of the photos that were taken by Koyo Ishikawa:

 

Asakusa, Tokyo in 1937

Ginza, Tokyo in 1933.

Tokyo train station in 1936

Ueno, Tokyo in 1935

Tokyo looks so very different today!

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10 Responses to “How Japan was 75 years ago…”

  1. metalodyssey February 6, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Are Asakusa and Ginza cities that are comparable to Tokyo? Is that rushing water in the street of the Asakusa photo? Those photos you have supplied came out pretty sharp. I would guess Koyo had fun taking photos and documenting this era of Japan’s history.

    Like

    • tokyo5 February 7, 2011 at 2:11 am #

      >Are Asakusa and Ginza cities that are comparable to Tokyo?

      Asakusa and Ginza are parts of Tokyo. Kinda like Manhattan and Brooklyn are parts of NYC.

      >Is that rushing water in the street of the Asakusa photo?

      No. It was raining.

      >Those photos you have supplied came out pretty sharp.

      I went to the exhibit today. Mr. Ishikawa took many excellent photos of Tokyo. It was an excellent exhibit.

      Like

      • metalodyssey February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am #

        Tokyo is a giant-sized city like NYC, obviously! Wow… I’ve said before, I learn more about Japan here than from any other source this past year. Your like my “Japan History Channel”. 🙂

        Isn’t it funny, how there are people out there that are not “household names” that contributed highly towards documenting history? Has a hardcover book ever been published of Koyo’s photgraphic work? It would be a hot seller in Japan, I would imagine. As with any historic photographer, their photos are a journey back into time.

        I am always awestruck when I look at the photos of America’s Civil War… simply awestruck.

        Like

      • tokyo5 February 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

        >Tokyo is a giant-sized city like NYC, obviously!

        Yes, Tokyo is a giant ultra-modern metropolis.

        >I learn more about Japan here than from any other source this past year. Your like my “Japan History Channel”.

        Thank you. And I don’t buy CDs as much as I used to when I was younger…so when I want a new one, your site is full of excellent reviews.

        >Isn’t it funny, how there are people out there that are not “household names” that contributed highly towards documenting history?

        That’s right and also many unsung heroes in history too.

        >Has a hardcover book ever been published of Koyo’s photgraphic work?

        I’m not sure about a hardcover book…but the museum that is holding the exhibition is selling a softbound book of his photos and life-story.

        Like

  2. pongrocks February 5, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    I’d love to visit but tokyo is soooo far away 😉
    I remember watching Always Sanchōme no Yūhi 1 and 2 a few years ago. They were about the showa era, weren’t they? Can’t remember much, but I guess they were quite good… I like historical movies, they are not as stiff as most documentaries 😉

    on a different matter:
    congrats to japan for winning the asia cup 😛 I know you rather like football than soccer, but I think it was kind of a big deal for Japan, eh? I watched about half of the championship match. Australia definitely deserved to win, but in the end the team with the better score wins 😉 I really like Honda Keisuke, definitely a world class player with a big future ahead of him.

    Like

    • pongrocks February 5, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      ooopsie, just saw that already posted something about the asian cup… my bad 😛

      Like

      • tokyo5 February 5, 2011 at 11:11 am #

        >ooopsie, just saw that already posted something about the asian cup… my bad

        Yes, I wrote this post about that game.

        Like

    • tokyo5 February 5, 2011 at 11:09 am #

      >I remember watching Always Sanchōme no Yūhi 1 and 2 a few years ago.
      They were about the showa era, weren’t they?

      Yes, that’s right. It took place in the late 1950’s Tokyo.
      In the first one, the skyline of Tokyo shows the Tokyo Tower under construction…and in Tokyo today, the skyline has the Tokyo Sky Tree tower under construction.

      >congrats to japan for winning the asia cup…I know you rather like football than soccer, but I think it was kind of a big deal for Japan, eh?

      Yes, I think American football is more interesting than soccer. I plan to watch the NFL Superbowl game this Monday (Japan time).

      But I did watch the Japan vs. Australia champion soccer match of the Asia Cup.

      >Australia definitely deserved to win

      You think so?

      >I really like Honda Keisuke

      He’s probably the most famous Japanese soccer player.

      Like

  3. Earnest Mercer February 5, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I was in Japan during Showa 26,27; and took many photos–some with a Brownie camera, but many with a 35 MM Argus C3. Interested parties may vew some of these old photos by visiting:
    my “Picasa-Web” page.

    Like

    • tokyo5 February 5, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      >I was in Japan during Showa 26,27

      Yes, I remember you were stationed in Japan with the U.S. Navy in 1952-53.
      You did an interesting interview with me.

      >(I) took many photos

      Just like Mr. Ishikawa’s photos of Tokyo in the 1930’s – 40’s, your photos of Japan in the early 1950’s are quite different of Japan today.

      Japan has changed a lot even in the twenty years since I first arrived here!

      But, then again, Japan also keeps it’s traditional culture along with being very modern…so some photos from all those years ago, such as temples and shrines, still look similar to today.

      Like

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