Mountainous visual reference of 19th century Japan?
May 23, 2016 2:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm gearing up to draw several hundred pages of comics set in the mountains and small villages of Japan, as it was in 1865. Recommendations for movies, manga, anime, books, anything that I can add to my collection of visual reference?

I've been hoarding reference for years, but most of it was in support of the first book of this series, and I find that a have a lot of gaps I'd like to fill. Vintage photographs are always wonderful, but I'm just as interested in historical fiction.

My comic is set in Kyoto in the late summer, although I'm happy for anything remotely comparable.

Some particular things I'd love to have reference for:
- Campsites, whether temporary or more long-term
- Small mountain villages and the people who lived there
- Clothing for travel through the mountains
posted by Narrative Priorities to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you see any of Usagi Yojimbo? Stan Sakai takes great pains to make his backgrounds authentic, and by the nature of the story it wanders all over the place. It isn't precisely 1865; it's kind of an indeterminate time in the Edo period. But it should be very helpful to you.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:13 PM on May 23, 2016

There's a nice little book called Japan Journeys, which gives a bit of background on some of the standard sites depicted in period Japanese woodblock prints. (It's a reference for understanding other art, it's not a collection of photos/etc of the reality; not sure if this fits what you're looking for.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:20 PM on May 23, 2016

Is Samurai Champloo what you are looking for?
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:18 PM on May 23, 2016

How about the woodblock series The Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido by Hiroshige?
posted by jamaal at 5:10 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Lone Wolf and Cub.
posted by gnutron at 5:27 PM on May 23, 2016

They are a bit later than your target date, but check out the photos from Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore; link to photo set online here - click on the thumbnails to open in larger size (some of the photos are of China, but I'm thinking you should be able to recognize China vs. Japan).
posted by gudrun at 9:00 PM on May 23, 2016

Mushishi is mostly placed in assorted mountain villages (half of them in Snow Country, so not necessarily similar to the Kansai area) in a kind of vaguely Meiji-Taisho era, but you might be interested in the farm architecture.

Otherwise I'd recommend you to check the NHK historical dramas.
posted by sukeban at 10:05 PM on May 23, 2016

Also, flickr user Okinawa Soba has uploaded an amazing collection of 19th Century pictures of Japan.
posted by sukeban at 10:08 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

There's a beautiful volume of Hiroshige and Eisen's The Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido that would serve you well for mountain villages and campsites. Though I'm sure all of the images inside can be found online.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 2:39 PM on May 25, 2016

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