Today, Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city by population, with a booming port industry. These charming images of Yokohama at the turn of the 20th century confirm its history as an international city, with an influx of industrial technology and foreign influence during this period. After the Meji Restoration of 1868, Yokohama developed from a small fishing village to an important port with a silk trade connected to Great Britain.
The photographs, found in the album of a presumed German tradesman living and working in the area around 1908, show a city in flux, caught between tradition and modernity. Artisans worked on embroidery, textiles, and silver cloisonné for foreign export, demonstrating the foreign appetite for Japanese goods during this period. Steamships arrived to the port while animal labor continued to be used in agriculture.
The images also preserve a Yokohama that was largely destroyed by the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, providing precious insight into a Japan subject to natural disaster, whether it be flood, fire, or earthquake.
via [Vintage Everyday]
All images via Wolfgang Wiggers.