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Photography arrived in Japan early. The equipment to produce daguerreotypes — images etched on copper plates coated with silver — was introduced via the Dutch trading port of Dejima in the late 1840s, a decade after its invention in France.

In these pre-modern times, however, technology spread comparatively slowly and it was only after Japanese ports were opened to foreign trade and settlement, particularly those of Yokohama and Nagasaki in 1859, that photography took off.

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