A Letter From The Publisher, Mar. 23, 1959

IT WAS a delicate matter. To picture the ancient and honorable custom of mixed bathing that still prevails in communal bathhouses in many parts of rural Japan. Photographer Jean Launois drove 150 miles south of Tokyo to the tiny village of Yokokawa. A special meeting of the village fathers approved the project, and a willing family volunteered as subjects, eager to enjoy "the honor of being photographed by a foreign photographer."

A few hours later, all was ready. The bathers were in the tub, and a crowd of admirers was pressed around Photographer Launois....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!