Yokoyama Matsusaburō

Photographer, Visual Artist

1838 – 1884

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Who was Yokoyama Matsusaburō?

Yokoyama Matsusaburō was a pioneering Japanese photographer, artist, lithographer and teacher.

Yokoyama was born Yokoyama Bunroku in Iturup on 10 October 1838. Early in his life, Yokoyama and his family moved to Hakodate, where in 1854 he was first exposed to photography on seeing daguerreotypes by Eliphalet Brown, Jr. and A. F. Mozhaiskii. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to a kimono dealer, and during this time developed an interest in painting. A few years later, as an assistant to the Russian painter Lehman, he was exposed to Western painting styles and helped sketch the surroundings of the Russian Consulate in Hakodate. With a view to improving his landscape painting, Yokoyama started to learn photography. He travelled to Yokohama and studied photography under Shimooka Renjō, then returned to Hakodate and studied under the Russian consul, I. A. Goshkevich. In 1868 Yokoyama opened his own commercial photographic studio in Yokohama. That same year he moved his studio to Ryōgoku, naming it Tsūten-rō; some time later, he moved Tsūten-rō a short distance to Ueno Ikenohata.

In 1868, Yokoyama met Ninagawa Noritane, an official in the Meiji government, who commissioned him to photograph Edo Castle, before its imminent reconstruction, and the Imperial treasures housed in the Shōsōin. The project was completed between 1871 and 1872 and some of the resulting work was published in 1872 as an album of 64 photographs titled Kyū-Edo-jō Shashin-chō and republished as an album of 73 photographs in 1878 under the title Kanko Zusetsu, Jokakau-no-bu. Some of Yokoyama's photographs of Japanese art works were presented at the 1873 Vienna Exposition.

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on July 23, 2013


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