It’s natural to think of people in the old-timey days as having no time for joviality, what with being tied up in battling polio, Kaisers, and other threats most of the developed world doesn’t run into so much anymore. Likewise, in a lot of ways Japan is a no-nonsense kind of place, where work, school, and family responsibilities generally take precedent over everything else.
So you’d think a picture taken in Japan around a century ago would be a double-exercise in dourness, but as this photograph shows, while fashion and technology may change with the times, silliness has always been a part of life.
Twitter user Yuppi recently shared the photo with her followers. While she doesn’t give a date for when it was taken, we can hazard a guess. Japan ended its period of government-imposed isolation in 1868, and by the turn of the century, Western clothing started steadily replacing traditional garb. Hairstyles saw the same sort of trends, so judging from the 100-percent indigenous look these ladies are sporting, this photo session probably took place sometime around the early 1900s, if we’re making an educated guess.
What we can say with absolute certainty, though, is that the picture was taken well after people started making funny faces for the camera.
ゆっぴー (@yu_2ne1flower) October 01, 2014
The guy seems to be the only one not in on the joke, perhaps because he’s standing farthest in the background and can’t see any of the women’s faces. Everyone else, though, has decided that they don’t need to leave future generations with a reminder of their solemn dignity so much as proof of their love of comedy.
“Even in the old days, when a group of girls took a group shot together, they had to make funny faces,” mused Yuppi.
In the case of the woman circled above, though, we can’t tell if she’s doing it on purpose, or if her face is just contorting as she tries not to laugh at this display of master-level technique.
Internet commenters also got a chuckle, while appreciating that even their great-grandmothers occasionally took the time to do stupid things, just for laughs.
“What a charming photo.”
“Doesn’t matter when you’re talking about, girls gotta have fun.”
“Just like now, no one wants to be the buzz-kill.”
Proof positive that life has always been colorful, even when the photos were black and white.