Geishas used to be considered the supermodels of their time. Japan’s decorated entertainers, skilled in many traditional art forms and other social customs saw a decline after the Meiji Restoration began to rapidly modernize and westernize the country, and World War II prompted more women to enter the workforce. Travel back in time with these candy-colored, vintage photos of geishas during the Meiji era that we spotted on Retronaut, circa 1900.
Some of the women photographed were highly regarded — like the first model pictured below, Miss Koman. Even Japanese writer and poet Yone Noguchi lauded her popularity. We’re used to seeing geishas with painted, tight-lipped gazes — and there are plenty in this selection of photos — but some of the girls seemed to really let their hair down. The props, poses, and striped bathing suits are fantastic. Click through for more vintage snapshots of beautiful geishas at the beach.
Image credit: Okinawa Soba