These delicate, hand-coloured portraits of Japanese dressed in traditional costumes were taken in 1872 by photographer Suzuki Shin’ichi. Once foreign trade restrictions were lifted in the 1850s-60s, photography was introduced to the country by visiting foreigners who opened studios, and Shin’ichi was one of the first Japanese to delve into the art.
The series of portraits were taken for The Far East magazine, a publication that catered to expats living in the port city of Yokohama. To appease the audience’s taste for the exotic side of Japan, Shin’ichi focused on rural life and typical occupations of the period.
All images © Metropolitan Museum of Art