Taikichi Irie
1905 - 1992

Irie was born in Nara Prefecture and started photography in his teens being taught by his brother. In 1925 he landed a job with a camera store in Osaka and by 1931 had established his own photographic company called Kogeisha. This Osaka firm mainly did product and advertising photography as well as selling photographic merchandise.

In 1939 Irie started photographing traditional Japanese puppetry called bunraku which led to his first solo exhibition on the subject in Osaka in 1942. In the years that followed, Irie lost his home and business during the allied bombing raids of Osaka in 1945, forcing him to return to his family home in Nara.

Throughout the 1940s Irie photographed Buddhist temples and relics which led to a lifelong pursuit of the subject. His Buddhist images were first published in the early 1940s and by 1958 began publishing a series of ongoing books on the subject which led to much commercial success throughout his career. By the end of his life he had published numerous titles, many of which were sumptuous volumes by Japanese publishers.

Irie died in January, 1992 three months before a photography museum dedicated to his life work opened in Nara City. This museum is called the Nara-shi Shashin Bijutsukan or Nara City Museum of Photography. He is best known for documenting Buddhist relics and “Yamatoji”, the historical sites of Nara Prefecture.

Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum link (Japanese):

Image: statue of Basara at Shin Yakushi Temple, Nara, Japan.
Item #: SD-113
Artist: Taikichi Irie
Date: 1978
Price: 65,000 JY
Description: dye transfer print.
Image: eleven headed Bodhisattva of Mercy at Hokkeiji Temple, Nara, Japan.
Item #: SD-112
Artist: Taikichi Irie
Date: 1978
Price: 65,000 JY
Description: dye transfer print.
Image: Gakko Bodhisattva at Yakushiji Temple, Nara, Japan.
Item #: SD-114
Artist: Taikichi Irie
Date: 1978
Price: 65,000 JY
Description: dye transfer print.