Tuesday, January 04, 2005


"If any single area of Tokyo was able to hold on to the mystique and feudal charm of old Edo into the 20th century the longest it was Yoshiwara, the city's most famous 'licensed quarter.' Yoshiwara, originally a city district, was relocated by puriant [sic] authorities in 1657 to paddy fields north of Asakusa and outside the city-proper. A serious fire in 1913, and its near-total destruction by earthquake in 1923, took the blossom off Yoshiwara's bloom. However, the licensed quarter remained popular until prostitution was officially abolished nationwide in 1958, thirteen years after the end of World War II."

As one who resided in Tokyo for several years back in the 70s, these old photos are evocative beyond words; but even if you've never been or spent much time there, this is the Tokyo that disappeared in the earthquake and the war... Beautiful old postcards and photos depicting Tokyo around the turn of the century.

With thanks to the monumental plep.

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