Size: 11 1/2 x 8 in. (292 x 203 mm).
Item#: SD-093 Artist: Kanichiro Shimada
Image or title: Asa no Kiyomizu (Morning at Kiyomizu),
Date: late 1920s. Medium: vintage matte gelatin silver print. Price: please inquire

Photo by an associate of Shinzo Fukuhara and ranking member of the Nihon Shashin-kai (Japan Photographic Society).

Description: pictorialist image of the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, founded in 798 and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. This view shows the temple's middle courtyard. At left is the Kyo-do or Sutra Hall. This is where the temple's Buddhist Sutras are stored. In the center is the Todoroki-mon or Reverberation Gate, and just behind it is the Tamura-do or Founder's Hall which enshrines a statue of Tamuramaro, the founder of the temple.

Attribution: An inscription on the reverse of the print in an unknown hand reads: Taisho nenkan Fukuhara Shinzo satsue. The translation of this is: Taken by Shinzo Fukuhara during the Taisho period. However, this is a mistaken attribution apparently done years later as this same image was published in Nihon Shashin Kai Kaiho (Japan Photographic Society Bulletin) in the May, 1931 issue (Volume 10, No. 5) which credits the photo to Kanichiro Shimada (see page example below). The magazine also provides the title: Asa no Kiyomizu (Morning at Kiyomizu).

Condition: there's a small patch of blemishes in the upper left margin. Other than that, overall this print is in good condition.

Kanichiro Shimada:

Shimada was born in Tokyo in 1904. It is not known how he received his photographic training, but by the late 1920s he had become one of the leading art photographers in Tokyo. In his early days, Shimada was a pictorialist who specialized in scenics. In 1927 he became a member of the Purezanto Shashin Club which was founded in Tokyo in 1921. The president of this photo club was Kiyoshi Nishiyama and Purezanto occasionally held exhibitions at the Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo.

Shinzo Fukuhara, the founder of this gallery recognized the talent of this group and invited Nishiyama and other Purezanto members to join the Nihon Shashin-kai or Japan Photographic Society (JPS). This society was founded in 1924 by Fukuhara and was considered an elite group. Shimada became a member and by the late 1920s was receiving citations and gaining notoriety. This was evident in a 1929 annual concours held by the society that prominently displayed Shimada's work. This led to his work being published in such photo magazines as; Shashin Shinpo, the Japan Photographic Annual of 1931-1932, and Nihon Shashin-kai Kaiho (see below).

Shimada was also associated with Seichi Mamiya, the founder of Mamiya Camera. Mamiya was a member of Purezanto and in 1940 invited Shimada to work for his new company Mamiya Koki Seisakusho. Shimada obliged, and worked for Mamiya until 1945. After the war, around 1946 Shimada designed a close-up lens attachment called the Auto-Up. Having difficulties in obtaining a patent for this device, Shimada went to his former employer for advice, and Mamiya advised him to start his own company. Shimada did exactly that and in 1947 formed Purezanto, a company named after the camera club. The Auto-Up was a close-up lens attachment designed for rangefinder cameras which had an attached eyepiece covering the viewfinder. This allowed for accurate viewing and this accessory soon became a hit for Shimada's company.

The only known book published by Shimada is Katsura Rikyu, published in 1959 by Iwasaki Shoten. This was a book of images on Kyoto's historic imperial gardens. As for the Purezanto Shashin Club, it was in existence for over 50 years. In 1970 Shimada was elected vice president of the club. Shimada died in 1979 at the age of 74.

Kanichiro Shimada (top)
Plate from Nihon Shashin Kai Kaiho (Japan Photographic Society Bulletin),
May, 1931, Vol. 10, no. 5.
Title: Asa no Kiyomizu (Morning at Kiyomizu).