A stunning collection of Japanese art prints


All original hand-painted photographs of Meiji Japan including samurai, geisha, artisans, royalty and stunning landscapes of the Japanese countryside, temples and villages. Our photographs are scanned at high resolution and available to order as high quality prints, posters, stationary and more from Redbubble.


High resolution quality Japanese art prints


All photographs in the collection are original antique 19th century hand-painted Japanese art prints which have been scanned at high resolution to ensure prints and reproductions of the photographs are of the highest quality. After each photograph is scanned, the high resolution image is then uploaded to our Redbubble store to be ordered as high quality prints, posters, art boards and canvas, and a variety of other products. By using high resolution images reproductions can be ordered up to 20" x 24.7" for photographic prints and a massive 33.2" x 40.9" for posters.

The Meiji Restoration 1868 - 1912


The political revolution in 1868 brought about the demise of the Tokugawa shogunate bringing to an end the Edo period and returning control of the Japan to imperial rule under Mutsuhito, the Emperor Meiji. Japan had only recently opened its doors to the west in 1854 after 200 years of isolation and shortly after a remarkable new invention, photography.

Uchida Kuichi is famous for his photographs of the Meiji Emperor and Empress becoming the very first photographer allowed to photograph the Emperor in 1872. These photographs were later used as official public portraits.


Meiji Emperor 1852-1912

photographed by Uchida Kuichi, 1872

At the time of Meiji's birth in 1852, Japan was an isolated, pre-industrial, feudal country dominated by the Tokugawa shogunate and the daimyōs, who ruled over the country's more than 250 decentralized domains. By the time of his death in 1912, Japan had undergone a political, social, and industrial revolution at home and emerged as one of the great powers on the world stage. 

Empress Shōken 1849-1914

photographed by Uchida Kuichi, 1873

From 1886, the Empress and her entourage wore only Western style clothes in public and in 1887 she even issued a memorandum on the subject, contending that traditional Japanese dress was not only unsuited to modern life, but that in fact, Western style dress was closer than the kimono to clothes worn by Japanese women in ancient times.


Yokohama harbour


After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the port of Yokohama was developed for trading primarily in silk with Great Britain. Western influence had contributed to the establishment of Japan's first railway and newspaper with Yokohama becoming the home of Japan's first photographic studios producing hand-painted art prints.

Gion machi, Kyoto, Japan


Outside of the major cities, Japan remained largely unchanged. The isolation of Japan only a decade before preserved a rich and traditional culture in its ancient cities, villages and temples. Japanese and European photographers captured the striking contrast between traditional Japan and an emerging modern power.

The photographers of Meiji Japan


After 1868 several photography studios opened in Japan including that of Uchida Kuichi in 1865 in Osaka, Yohei Hori in Kyoto, and in 1866 Kōkichi Kizu opened his studio in Hakodate, Rihei Tomishige in Yanagawa, as well as Chikugo and Yokoyama Matsusaburō.

In between the 1860s to 1900, Yokohama-shashin (Photographs sold in Yokohama) became very popular. Yokohama-shashin were photographs of Japanese landscapes, people and culture and became a popular souvenir for tourists at the time. Among the most famous photographers for Yokohama-shashin were Felix Beato and Kusakabe Kimbei (1841–1934).