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Ihei Kimura is considered as one of the most prolific Japanese photojournalists of the 20th century. His snapshots of the people and attractions of Tokyo and the Akita Prefecture have earned him the respect and accolades of photographers all around the world.
Kimura’s passion for photography started at a young age, but his interest in the craft magnified further when he was 20 years old and living in Taiwan. He moved back home and opened his photography studio in 1924. He shot advertisement portraits for the Kao Company with the use of his Leica camera. In 1936, he published his first-ever photo book entitled “A Historical Sketch of Japanese Customs and Costumes.”
In 1950, he established the Japan Professional Photographers Society, an organization in which he was elected chairman. He toured Europe during the decade, and catalogued his color snapshots – which were considered revolutionary during his time – in his photo book “Pari.”
After trotting Europe, Kimura decided to return back to Japan to focus on the beautiful imagery of the Akita Prefecture. When he died in 1974, the Kimura Ihei award was set up in his honor – an accolade given by breakthrough amateur photographers. Even after 40 years after his passing, Kimura remains to be one of the icons of modern photography.