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Tamamura, Kozaburo (c. 1856 - 1923)

Takinogawa near Tokyo

Medium: Photography
Date: c. 1870-1910
Size (H x W): 10.25 x 12.5 (inches)
Condition: Hand-colored albumen print, mounted on original album board (partially removed), very light wear.


About the artist

Kozaburo Tamamura was a pioneer of Japanese photography during the Meiji Period. Born in Edo in 1856, Tamamura began to study photography under Genzo Kanamaru in 1868. Tamamura opened his first photography studio in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1874. In 1883, he moved business to Yokohama, where he continued operations until 1909. The studio enjoyed great success, in part due to Tamamura’s creation of Yokohama shashin, staged-scenes intended for foreign tourists. Beginning in 1897, the Boston-based publisher J.B. Millet commissioned Tamamura’s studio to produce staged scenes of the Japanese landscape and traditional customs. These hand-painted photographs were wildly popular among foreign audiences. Tamamura’s photographs were compiled with the writing of Okakura Tenshin and collotype plates of Kazumasa Ogawa in an album titled Japan. Tamamura’s death is often given as 1923, though there is some uncertainty about this date.