Newspaper vendors

Kidai Shoran (detail) © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin), former collection of Hans-Joachim and Inge Küster, gift of Manfred Bohms 2002, photography: Tadao Kodaira

Reading aloud some of the contents of newspaper reports at busy streets and intersections was a good way to tempt people to buy copies of these one-page news sheets (kawaraban). These newspapers were a valuable source of information in the city, offering illustrated accounts of lovers’ suicides and tales of revenge, criticisms of government policy, and reports of earthquakes and fires. One of the vendors here is standing guard, as there were frequent crack-downs and seizures of these unauthorized publications.