meiji restoration

Brazil loves Photos of Japan!

Flag of Brazil

I've always known there was a relationship between Brazil and Japan and was aware of connections such as the martial art Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, however I didn't know the full history and how deep the connection was until I decided to do some research based on my surprising website visitor statistics.

Almost 50% of visitors to Photos of Japan are from Brazil!

More than 50% of our traffic since we launched our website only a few weeks ago has been from Brazil!

The kasato-maru brought the first Japanese immigrants to Brazil in 1908

The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil during the Meiji Period in 1908 and there are now 1.6 million people of Japanese descent now living in Brazil. In fact Brazil is home to the second largest Japanese population outside of Japan.

In 1907 a treaty permitting Japanese migration to Brazil was signed by the Brazilian and Japanese governments. 790 Japanese immigrants travelled to Brazil in 1908 on the Kasato Maro,  about half of them coming from southern Okinawa.

Today Japanese Brazilians are known in Japanese as Nikkei Burajiru-jin (日系ブラジル人) or nipo-brasileiro in Portuguese.

Welcome to Photos of Japan Brazil!


Who created these wonderful Japanese art prints?

Kusakabe Kimbei

Many of the Japanese prints in our collection are the work of Kusakabe Kimbei (1841 - 1932). Considered to be one of the most underrated Japanese photographers of the 19th century, he worked with Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried from the 1860s as an assistant and photographic colourist before he opened his own studio many years later in Yokohama in 1881.

Some of the most beautiful photographs in our collection are landscapes by Kusakabe including his stunning series of prints depicting Yokohama and Nakasendo scenery. 

canal, Yokohama, 1880 - Kusakabe Kimbei

Kusakabe was at the forefront of creating souvenir photograph albums for western tourists in Yokohama containing hand-painted Japanese prints of landscapes and studio portraits of everyday life in the Meiji period. For this reason he is still better known today in the West than he is in Japan.

His albums also included many of the famous photographs of his mentors as he had acquired the negatives of both Felice Beato and Stillfried, as well as those of Uchida Kuichi in 1885. Although historically the works of his mentors are held in such a high regard for their remarkable record of Japan in the 1860s and 1870s, it can be said that from the 1880s no studio had come close to producing as consistent high quality work to that of Kusakabe Kimbei. The quality of the painting  and hand-colouring of his photographs are exceptional and in 1891 Kusakabe advertised himself as both photographer and painter. By 1892 his studio had a selection of over 2000 unique Japanese prints of landscapes and studio portraits of Samurai and Geisha as well as scenes of everyday Japanese life available to western tourists as Japanese art prints for sale.