Friday, October 24, 2014

Old Japanese Postcards of Tokyo

I've always wanted to go to Japan but so far not got around to going over there. Here are a few old Japanese postcards I have come across and thought I would share them with you and see if I could find an updated photograph of the area on the internet as I like looking at before and after photographs. Also I'm going to attempt to be a bit of an investigative journalist and find a bit of information about each postcard. 

old postcards, Japanese, photos, photography, assembly hall, tokyo
Assembly Hall of Tokyo - Old Japanese Postcard
Notes
The Assembly Hall of Tokyo now appears to be called the National Diet Building (see photo below) and at first I thought it must be something to do with your health (diet) but In politics, a diet is a formal deliberative assembly and in modern day terms relates to the Japanese Parliament. I am working that brain cell today!

It has a United States Navy Jeep in the foreground with U.S.N 94 04633 so it must be after the war between the USA and Japan that ended in 1945. 

The car in the background to the left with the yellow woodwork is a Ford Country Squire (first generation) which were built 1950-1951. 

The bark on the tree is painted white to prevent cracking and splitting of the tender new bark, which can allow introduction of disease, insects and fungus.

Present - The Assembly Hall  or National Diet Building in Tokyo, Japan

old postcards, Japanese, photos, photography, Nijubashi, entrance to Imperial Palace
Nijubashi - Main Entrance to the Imperial Palace - Old Japanese Postcard
Notes
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan.

The Imperial Palace hasn't changed much since 1945, (see photo below).

The old Imperial Palace was destroyed in WWII but the main palace and residences were re-built in the 1960's.

Akihito is the name of the present day Emperor and the list of Japanese Emperors dates right back to 660 BC...wow! 

Nijubashi - Main Entrance to the Imperial Palace - 2005

old postcards, Japanese, photos, photography, Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station - Old Japanese Postcard
Notes
Today, over 3,000 trains travel to Tokyo Station.

1.12 million passengers use the station daily, with the busiest station being Shinjuku with 
3.64 million passengers a day (2007).

"Oshiya" ("pushers")  - Shinjuku Station, Tokyo in the rush hour,1967

The above photo gets me thinking about the photographs Michael Wolf has taken called "Tokyo Compression" who has documented the misery of the morning commute in Tokyo. (see below)

Tokyo Compression by Michael Wolf


old postcards, Japanese, photos, photography, Ginza Street, shopping center, Tokyo
Ginza Street (Shopping Center of Tokyo) - Old Japanese Postcard


Notes
Ginza is a former swamp that was filled in in the 16th century.

Ginza in Japanese literally means "Silver Mint", which historically is related to the coin mint located in the area in the 1600's and 1700's.

Wako Department Store (the building with the clock) is probably the most exclusive department store.

Density of Tokyo is 5796 /km² and where I live in Yorkshire its 343 /km2 ....wow that is tight! 

old postcards, Japanese, photos, photography, Ginza Street, shopping center, Tokyo
Ginza Street, Tokyo
old postcards, Japanese, photos, photography, Asakusa Business Center, Tokyo
Asakusa Business Center in Tokyo - Old Japanese Postcard
Notes
Today, Asakusa has around 90 shops and stalls selling Edo-style trinkets and souvenirs.

It is where you can experience one of Tokyo's past decades. 

Asakusa is the center of Tokyo's Shitamachi which means "low city".

In the photo you can see the swastika (manji), but in Japan it is a sign of good luck and well being and has no association with the Nazis.

The busy street of Asakusa today

old postcards, Japanese, photos, photography, Nihonbashi Bridge Tokyo
Nihonbashi Bridge of Tokyo  - Old Japanese Postcard
Notes
Nihonbashi which means "Japan Bridge" is a business district of Chūō, Tokyo.

The bridge used to be built of wood and was reconstructed in stone during the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912) and was covered by an expressway in the 1960's.

You can cross a partial replica of the original wooden bridge in the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku (see photo below).

Replica of Nihonbashi Bridge in Edo-Tokyo Museum

Nihonbashi Bridge today with the expressway overhead

Well, I have taken myself on a mini internet tour of Tokyo and it makes me want to visit Japan even more now. Best get selling some canvas art!

Mill Shop - Urban Photography

mill shop, urban photography, black and white, photo,
Mill Shop - Urban Photography