Sakae Tamura

Photographer, Visual Artist

1910 – 2003


Who was Sakae Tamura?

Sakae Tamura was a Japanese magazine editor and photographer of nature.

Tamura was born in Chiba in 1910, but his family moved to Tokyo in 1924. Under the influence of his father, an amateur photographer, he started taking photographs in 1927.

Tamura worked from 1936 till 1973 in a succession of editorial posts, mostly preparing educational materials about nature. The first of these was within Kōgasha, where he worked on the photography magazine Gekkan Kogata Kamera. He subsequently moved to Seibundō Shinkōsha, where he was the chief editor of the magazine of science for children Kodomo no Kagaku and the astronomy magazine Tenmon Gaido.

Tamura's book of photography of insects, showing the activities and life-cycles of insects, made him an innovator in Japan, where insect photography had previously been limited to unimaginative depictions of dead specimens.

Tamura won an award from the Ministry of Education in 1951 for the book Konchū no seitai.

Between 1954 and 1960, Tamura took many photographs of bird life, and the increasing threats to this, along the stretch of the Tama River between Tokyo and Kawasaki, increasingly polluted and with an increasing percentage of its banks used for group leisure pursuits. In a book-length anthology of these published in 1962, he pointed out the decrease in the variety of bird life, and warned of the danger of further increases to come. Photographs from the book were exhibited in the National Science Museum of Japan in 1963.

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Lived in
  • Chiba Prefecture

on July 23, 2013


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