Rare Color Photos Showcase Japan’s Last Samurai
Taken between 1862 and 1900, these images show a lost age before modernization.
Once elite warriors, the samurai of feudal Japan began to fade from the upper echelon of the military in the mid-1800s when the country’s armed forces began to modernize. Colorized photographs, a new technology at the time, give us a window into that period when the samurai were a dying breed of soldier.
This transition began when Emperor Meiji ordered sweeping changes across the country to transform Japan’s armed forces into a modernized, Western-style army. As the once-revered warriors fell from their ranks and were no longer able to don a sword in public, they were forced to find power in other influential positions like business or government jobs.
Take a look at these rare photos, taken between 1862 and 1900, that capture the twilight years of Japan’s samurai. The images were captured in black and white, then hand-painted with colors by artists.
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