Shinzo Maeda (1922-1998):

Shinzo Maeda was born in in Hachioji City on the outskirts of Tokyo into a large family whose father worked in the forest industry. In 1935 he attended the Tokyo Furitsu Senshoku Gakko Shokusenka (present day Hachioji Technical High School) where he studied textile dyeing techniques. In 1936 he became interested in photography as his two brothers had a camera. Getting inspiration from them he obtained his first camera, a Japanese made Baby Pearl folding bellows camera.

In 1938 Maeda's interest in nature grew when he joined a local bird watching group. Becoming an avid bird watcher, this subject helped him to secure admission to university when he won a debate competition with birds as his topic. That same year he entered Takushoku University in Tokyo. But in 1943 with Japan at war he enlisted in the military to attend the Tateyama Naval Gunnery School in Chiba Prefecture. He graduated the following year with the rank of second lieutenant and was stationed in Sumatra in 1945. Fortunately for Maeda this posting happened just as the war ended and in 1946 he returned to Japan. But due to the ravages of war on his country he retreated to the mountains where he spent two years communing with nature.

By 1948 Maeda returned to Tokyo and took up employment with the clothing manufacturer Nichimen Co., Ltd. There he would would work for the next seventeen years. In 1955 he began spending more time in the mountains trekking and photographing on his free time. He also became began using Mamiya, Nikon and Canon cameras. Later in 1961, while in the Minami Alps he met photographer Kamishima Shiro and the two became friends and associates. In 1964 he purchased a Linhof Super Technika 4x5 view camera and became much more devoted to his craft. In 1965 he quit Nichimen to pursue photography full time.

By 1967 he launched his own photo agency called Tankei Photo Agency Co., Ltd. in Tokyo. This led to a long and successful career as a landscape photographer. In 1974 he published his first collection of photographs entitled “The Four Seasons of a Home Town”, Maininchi Shimbun-sha, Tokyo. He also won numerous awards including the top prize of the Japan Photographers Association. When he died in 1998 he had published forty six photography books as well as produced films. His gallery, the Takushinkan Gallery in Biei-cho, Hokkaido which opened in 1987 still continues to this day. His son Akira is also an accomplished landscape photographer who continues in his father's tradition.

Item: Japan's Countryside (Inaka).
Item #: SD-058
By: Shinzo Maeda.
Date: 1997
Price: 135,000 JY
Description: limted edition four color collotype SIGNED, with accompanying photo book. Only 100 made, very scarce.