"Fixing a Geisha’s Hair. 1900, Japan. This is a photographic postcard of a hairdresser performing the finishing touches to Geisha’s hair." Text and image via Blue Ruin 1 of Flickr
(Source: Flickr / blue_ruin_1)
Mt.Tokachi in autumn colors, Hokkaido, Japan十勝岳. Photography by Momo-taro on ganref
Yasuke African Samurai of the Japanese Warlord Nobunaga Oda.
“Japan is not a place one would usually associate with immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean. Yet in the late 16th century Japan’s most powerful warlord, Oda Nobunaga, had a African page named Yasuke it is belived that Yasuke was either a Makua originally from Mozambique or from somewhere in the Congo region. Yasuke was not only a cultural curiosity but also served as Nobunaga’s bodyguard and was granted the prestigious rank of Samurai.
Yasuke arrived in Japan in 1579 as the servant of the Italian Jesuit Alessandro Valignano, who had been appointed the Visitor (inspector) of the Jesuit missions in the Indies, i.e. S. and E. Asia, an extremely high position, so Yasuke must have been quite trustworthy. He accompanied Valignano when the latter came to the capital area in March 1581 and caused something of a sensation. In one event, several people were crushed to death while clamouring to get a look at him. Nobunaga heard about him and expressed a desire to see him. Suspecting the black color of his skin to be paint, Nobunaga had him strip from the waist up and made him scrub his skin.
We do not know this Yasuke’s original Makua name but the Japanese called him Yasuke (彌介), the reason for this name is unknown as it does not have a clear meaning and that it is most likely a “Japanization” of his actual name.
He was apparently 6ft 2in and would have towered over the Japanese of the day. Nobunaga first heard of Yasuke when the news reached him in 1581 of the great crush that had occurred when Valignano had brought him to Kyoto where his skin colour and height attracted a huge crowd. Nobunaga ordered the Jesuit to bring Yasuke to his court so that he could see this sensation in the flesh.
Upon seeing Yasuke, Nobunaga allegedly ordered him stripped to the waist and scrubbed believing that his skin was painted. Japanese sources described Yasuke as “looking between the age of 24 or 25, black like an ox, healthy and good looking, and possessing the strength of 10 men. Nobunaga was further intrigued by the fact that Yasuke could speak Japanese (albeit not perfectly) and ordered Valignano to leave Yasuke in his care when the Jesuit prepared to leave again.
Yasuke became a permanent fixture in Nobunaga’s retinue, his size and strength acting as a deterrent to assassination not to mention a flavour of exoticism to accompany the warlord’s other Western possessions. Apparently Nobunaga became so fond of Yasuke that rumours abounded that the slave was going to be made a Daimyo (a Japanese land-owning lord). These rumours were proven wrong, however, Yasuke was given the honour of being made a member of the samurai class, a rare honour among foreigners. “
You can read more about Yasuke here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasuke
Important note: Obviously this is not a 16th century photo because there weren’t any cameras back then. The people in this photo were just stage actors who posed for this shot. Don’t you think it’s more enjoyable to read the article with an accompanying photo rather than just plain texts? That’s the reason why we included this photo.
Iwase Yoshiyuki's photo-essay of Ama Divers - girls and women who harvested seaweed, oysters, and abalone in coastal Japan.
"Ama divers went out three times a day, requiring extensive eating and warming at the fireside between runs. A good harvest required long, cold dives, up to four minutes of hard underwater work on a single lungful of air. As such, ama divers were paid enormous salaries, often making more a few week season than the men of the village made in a year. When Yoshiyuki began shooting in the late 1920s, there were several hundred ama divers active in the seven harbours of the Iwawada coast… By the late 1960’s this 2000 year old way of life had disappeared. Yoshiyuki’s images are the most comprehensive document of ama divers ever produced and a stunning visual testament to these fascinating iconic women.”
Designated National Treasure of Japan, Matsumoto Castle
Golden Temple Kinkakuji, Kyoto, Japan. Photography by Elyktra Photoart on 500px
Yes this temple is as stunning in real life as the photo. It glows.
Any avid Japan fan knows that tattoos are more or less taboo.
However, before the turn of the 19th century, an ancient tradition by the name of Hajichi existed, unique to Okinawa. Women in Okinawa would ritually receive these tattoos as a coming of age symbol. When they get engaged to be married, Okinawan women were tattooed using bamboo sticks; the process was done by a ‘hajicha’.
The tattoos represent a symbol of strength and wealth in society. Most common symbols are the arrow-head on the fingertips, meaning not to come back [upon marriage to another family] and circles being wound-up thread.
Today, however, the number of woman remaining with ‘Hajichi’ are dwindling because of the views of and Meiji-era ban of tattoos in modern Japan.
Floating lanterns, Hiroshima, Japan
Stairstep to heaven, Tateyama’s Oyama summit bears a shrine, where the prayers of Shinto priest Norimaro Saeki are spoken, National Geographic, August 1984
Japan’s Emperor Hirohito in Yokohama during his first visit to see living conditions in the country since the end of the war, February 1946. See more photos here.
Lithograph of an Osaka Maiko 1910s (by Blue Ruin1)
“Before World War II, there were a great many Maiko (Apprentice Geisha) in the City of Osaka. Unlike Kyoto Maiko, their Obi (sash) was tied in a version of the Tateya Musubi (Standing Arrow Knot) called the Ya Giccha Musubi (Fortunate House Arrow Knot). They wore their hair in the Mata Kamigata (Forked-branch Hairstyle) rather than the Kyofu (Kyoto-style), with Edo-style sideburns. Their costumes were destroyed by air-raids, together with the majority of their photographs, and they went into decline for financial and other reasons, until Maiko were revived in May 2008 with the debut of two young Geisha.”
(Wikipedia Japan - 舞妓 – Maiko (Non-Kyoto Maiko)) (source)
An Ainu woman, one of the indigenous people of northern Japan, in traditional garments, 1890s
Ainu, indigenous people of Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands who were culturally and physically distinct from their Japanese neighbours until the second part of the 20th century. The Ainu may be descendants of an indigenous population once widely spread over northern Asia; many contemporary Ainu claim some connection to Japan’s prehistoric Jōmon culture. The traditionalAinu language, an isolate with a number of dialects, had been almost completely supplanted byJapanese by the early 21st century; a language-revitalization movement initiated formal instruction in Ainu in the 1980s. [Britannica.com]
Good thing I no longer do Lent, or the “no cake” stuff would kill me.
And I just found out that the most promising job lead I had closed before it was even sent to me.
in the south we don’t say “you’re a dumb fuck” we say “bless your heart” and i think that’s beautiful.