image by Hirai shows a maiko, or apprentice geisha
dressed in an elaborate kimono, taken in Kyoto. This
maiko was also photographed by Roso Fukuhara (brother
of Shinzo Fukuhara) in the same costume, presumably
at the same time. This took place during a 1936 trip
when the Fukuhara family and a small circle of photographic
friends toured Western Japan visiting Kyoto and the
Seto Inland Sea. Roso's maiko portrait was published
in the September 1939 edition of “Nihon
Shashin Kaiho” (Vol.
27, no. 3), the journal of the Nihon Shashin-kai (Japan
Photographic Society). Below is are two examples of
Roso's photographs of this same maiko.
on the reverse reads: "Maiko,
Hirai Yasuo satsue". Translation: Maiko,
taken by Yasuo Hirai.
Condition: very good
(for specifics, please contact us).
Yasuo Hirai (c1914 -1986):
Hirai was born in either 1914 or 1915.
It is not known how he learnt photography, but in 1935
he joined Shiseido’s
shashin-bu, or photography department as a staff photographer.
His superior was Akira Ibuka, the Director of Shiseido’s
Design Department. Internal records from Shiseido indicate Hirai worked
for Shiseido from 1935 to 1943, taking a hiatus due
to World War II. He then rejoined the company in 1946,
working in the same capacity until 1966 when he was
appointed director of the Shiseido
Gallery. This gallery located in Tokyo's Ginza
district was founded in 1919. A protégé and
personal aide to Shinzo Fukuhara, Hirai often accompanied
Shinzo and his brother Roso on photo excursions around
Japan. Hirai died in 1986 at the age of 71.