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Miko - Japanese shrine maiden.  1880’s, Japan.  Hand-colored photo by Kimbei Kusakabe

Miko - Japanese shrine maiden. 1880’s, Japan. Hand-colored photo by Kimbei Kusakabe

Yukata, Iseta Collection

Yukata, Iseta Collection

The indigenous people of northern Japan call themselves “Ainu,” meaning “people” or “humans” in their language. Recent DNA evidence suggests that the Ainu are the direct descendents of the ancient Jomon people who inhabited Japan as early as 12,000 years ago

The indigenous people of northern Japan call themselves “Ainu,” meaning “people” or “humans” in their language. Recent DNA evidence suggests that the Ainu are the direct descendents of the ancient Jomon people who inhabited Japan as early as 12,000 years ago

Courtesan Yagumo (Thick Clouds) of the Shimabara district in Kyoto, postmarked Taishō 11 (1922).

Courtesan Yagumo (Thick Clouds) of the Shimabara district in Kyoto, postmarked Taishō 11 (1922).

Teru Teru Bozu: Teru Teru Bozu literally means "shine, shine shaven-head" and is a lucky charm depiciting Buddhist monks praying for good weather. Many children in Japan often make them on rainy days and hang them up to wish for better weather.

Teru Teru Bozu: Teru Teru Bozu literally means "shine, shine shaven-head" and is a lucky charm depiciting Buddhist monks praying for good weather. Many children in Japan often make them on rainy days and hang them up to wish for better weather.

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