HUFFINGTON POST

These Photos Show Japan's Incredible Metamorphosis After World War II

After Japan's surrender in World War II, the country rapidly changed from an imperial nation under an emperor, to a democratic and demilitarized state.

Much of Japan lay in ruins after the war, devastated by air raids and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet the country's economy grew so fast that by 1964, Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games. Japan adopted a new, progressive constitution, allied with the United States and enshrined limits on the use of military force.

A new exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery in the U.K., organized by The Japan Foundation, shows Japan's transformation during this period through the work of 11 leading Japanese post-war photographers. "These two decades constituted a period truly brimming with creative energy – a time in which democracy led to the restoration of vitality and free photographic expression," the Gallery explains.

Take a look at some of their striking images of post-war Japan below.

  • Completing management training at a stock brokerage firm.
Ikebukuro, Tokyo, 1961.
    Shigeichi Nagano
    Completing management training at a stock brokerage firm. Ikebukuro, Tokyo, 1961.
  • Fashion show at the Mitsukoshi department store. Nihonbashi, Tokyo, 1956.
    Shigeichi Nagano
    Fashion show at the Mitsukoshi department store. Nihonbashi, Tokyo, 1956.
  • Children looking at a picture-card show. Tokyo, 1953.
    Ken Domon
    Children looking at a picture-card show. Tokyo, 1953.
  • Dancers resting on the rooftop of the SKD Theatre. Asakusa, Tokyo, 1949.
    Takeyoshi Tanuma
    Dancers resting on the rooftop of the SKD Theatre. Asakusa, Tokyo, 1949.
  • Domains. Garden of Silence, No. 52. Hakodate, Hokkaido, 1958.
    Ikko Narahara
    Domains. Garden of Silence, No. 52. Hakodate, Hokkaido, 1958.
  • The Map. The A-Bomb Memorial Dome and Ohta River. 1960-65.
    Kikuji Kawada
    The Map. The A-Bomb Memorial Dome and Ohta River. 1960-65.
  • Young woman. Omagari, Akita, 1953.
    Ihee Kimura
    Young woman. Omagari, Akita, 1953.
  • Tokyo, 1962.
    Yasuhiro Ishimoto
    Tokyo, 1962.
  • Barakei (Ordeal by Roses), No. 16. 1961.
    Eikoh Hosoe
    Barakei (Ordeal by Roses), No. 16. 1961.
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