9 images Created 25 Sep 2017
Okada (1895 - 1972) was born in present day Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture into a family of painters and calligraphers. In 1918 he graduated with a law degree from the Waseda University in Tokyo. During his college years he visited Oshino village near Mount Fuji in 1916 where he became so enamored with the mountain that he embarked upon a lifelong passion of photographing the sacred mountain. After college Okada became a professional photographer and in 1923 when the Great Kanto Earthquake struck Tokyo he documented the devastation. His series of images was used in the publication; Kanto Daishinsai Kinnen Shashin-cho (Memorial Photographic Album of the Great Kanto Earthquake). In 1924 he opened his first studio, the Okada Koyo Shashin Studio. Okada also spent time in Europe in 1926 and 1927 and published his second book in 1927 entitled Okada Koyo no Fuji Hyaku Geishu (One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji). During the 1930s he photographed many of Japan’s national parks which gained him notoriety in both Japan and abroad. In 1940 he established the Mount Fuji Photo Association (Fuji Shashin Kyokai) as the group's chairman. But during World War II Okada lost all of his negatives and equipment which drove him even more to photograph Mt. Fuji. In the late 1940s Okada became better accepted into Japan's art community and throughout the 1950s and 1960s carried on his life's work of photographing Mt. Fuji. This resulted in numerous exhibitions and book titles about his beloved mountain, as well as garnering him many awards and citations. His photographs are also used on Japanese currency and postage stamps to this day. There is also a photography museum dedicated to him in Yamanashi Prefecture near Mount Fuji called the Koyo Okada Photo Art Museum.