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From the Same Artist / Collection
Girls New Years Games
by Kusakabe Kimbei


This image, attributed to Kusakabe Kimbei, shows girls playing a New Year’s game. Two girls are playing hanetsuki, an early version of modern badminton. Another girl is a maiko, ‘apprentice geisha’ bouncing a thread ball, known as temari asobi, in the background. Also seen are Shimenawa, ‘enclosing ropes’, which are lengths of braided rice straw rope used for ritual purification in the Shinto religion.

About the Artist

Recognized as one of the most commercially successful Japanese photographers from the 19th century, Kusakabe Kimbei, professionally known as Kimbei, started his apprenticeship at a young age. At the age of sixteen, Kimbei left his hometown in Kofu and went to Yokohama where he entered the studio of British photographer Felice Beato during the 1860s. In 1870 he went to work at the studio of Baron Raimund von Stillfried, an Austrian photographer who had bought the studio of Beato. Kimbei’s new studio benefitted greatly when Stillfried left Japan in 1886; Kimbei inherited the majoity of Stillfried’s stock, in addition to other stock from his original teacher, Beato.


Employing the traditional method of the albumen printing process, Kimbei then meticulously hand painted each and every print. By combining his own studio portraits and landscape views of Japan with the reprinted works of Beato and Stillfried, Kimbei created some of the most sought after albums. Selling almost exclusively to wealthy Western tourists visiting Japan, as well as exporting his albumens to other countries, Kimbei’s work came to represent the concept of Japan’s exotic uniqueness to the world. The impressive popularity of Kimbei’s work among foreign collectors made him far more widely recognized overseas than in his own country. Kimbei continued to operate his business until 1913.

Print Series


35.5 x 28cm, edition limited to 500


Giclée print on matt archival paper


50 x 40cm, edition limited to 100

75 x 60cm, edition limited to 100


Giclée print on matt archival paper



Find out more about the VP Series »

* All prints come with a minimum of 10mm border to allow
   for framing or mounting.