Artificial Intelligence Colorization has brought the historic photos of Japan to life


Have you ever thought about what black and white photos do? They create a charm and nostalgia that leads to a certain disconnect between the past and present.

Women and children wait for a parade on the streets of Kobe in the 1930s. As you must be knowing that the process was manual and tedious. Even after having digital software, colorists have had to colorize the images of the photos piece-by-piece and pixel-by-pixel.

When you look at them, you can easily forget that you are connected to that time by what is just a blink of an eye in history. It is then worth colorizing the old black and white photographs if only for the contemporaneity, which we use to learn from history.

A team of researchers in Japan at the Waseda University with Dr. Ishikawa leading them has recently used artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to create software that automatically colorizes photographs. Isn’t that wonderful! It took them 2.3 million color photographs to accomplish the task through deep learning. Later Dr. Watanabe of the Tokyo Metropolitan University then built on that technology. He added data from research on the colors of architectural elements that were present in the past. Interesting that he has been publicizing his work on Twitter by posting photographs with some historical tidbits. Here are some of his favorites!

#Gojozaka, Kyoto, taken in 1875, is one of the oldest photos taken.

#Takeyoshi Tanuma photographed children making chalk drawings on the street in 1961.

#Photos of children photographed in post-war Japan in around 1950.

#A boy and a man enjoying oden -in 1898

#A farmworker photographed by Elstner Hilton in the 1910s

#Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara around 1880.

#A photograph of Arnold Genthe in 1908-An elderly woman carries a baby on her back.

#A sumo tournament was photographed in the 1930s. Dr. Watanabe thinks the wrestler in the middle might be Futabayama Sadaji.

#Elstner Hilton in 1910 photographed farmers

#Fushimi-Inari Shrine in Kyoto in 1880

#A photograph by Arnold Genthe in 1908.

#A photograph by Adolfo Farsari, 1886

#”Tagonourabashi” in Shizuoka photographed by Adolfo Farsari in 1886

#Two farmers photographed by Elstner Hilton (1910s)

Source : @spoon&tamago @ASAHI

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