Kiyoshi Nishiyama

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Kiyoshi Nishiyama (西山 清, Nishiyama Kiyoshi, 1893–1983) was a versatile Japanese amateur photographer who specialized in landscapes.[1]

Born in Tokyo in 1893 as Kiyonosuke Nishiyama[2] (西山清之助), Nishiyama became interested in photography at 15. He intended to become a professional photographer and learned retouching in a photographic studio at Ryōgoku, but never turned professional, instead in 1921 setting up a photographic supplies shop, Heiwadō (平和堂), in Nihonbashi, and at about the same time starting up and leading a photographic club, the Pleasant Club (プレザントクラブ, Purezanto Kurabu), and submitting his photographs to photographic magazines.[3]

In 1922 Nishiyama won the first prize for his submission, taken with a Vest Pocket Kodak, to a competition at the Heiwa Kinen Tōkyō Hakurankai (平和記念東京博覧会).[3] A year later he lost all his photographs and cameras in the Great Kantō earthquake, but persevered and held the first exhibition of the Pleasant Club in 1924.[3] Nishiyama was impressed by the "light and its harmony" aesthetic of Shinzō Fukuhara, who invited him to join the Japan Photographic Society; Nishiyama soon thereafter had a solo exhibition at the Shiseido Gallery.[3]

From 1925 Nishiyama began the first of several series of photographs in Photo Times (フォトタイムス, Foto Taimusu) magazine; these were on a variety of subjects but most notable was Nishiyama's portrayal of the cityscape of Tokyo after the earthquake.[3] From 1928 Shirai used a Rolleiflex camera, and turned this to photographing Nikkō and bunraku[1] (the subjects of solo exhibitions); he later added a Leica, but from 1959 changed to a Nikon F that he always used with a 50 mm lens.[1] Virtually all of Nishiyama's prewar work was destroyed in the bombing of Tokyo.[1]

Nishiyama continued to exhibit and publish after the war. In 1954 he won the PSJ award,[4] and in 1977 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, 5th class, for his services to photography.[5] He died on 5 March 1983.[6] Nishiyama's work is held in the permanent collections of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography[6] and Nihon University (which preserves what little remains of Nishiyama's prewar work).[1]

Solo exhibitions by Nishiyama[edit]

  • Shiseido Gallery (Ginza, Tokyo), 1920s[3][5]
  • "Nikkō" (日光), Matsuzakaya (Ueno, Tokyo), 1929. Photographs of Nikkō.[5]
  • "Bunraku" (文楽), Nihon Salon (Ginza, Tokyo), 1935. Photographs of bunraku.[5]
  • "Nihon no fūbutsu: Kita kara minami" (日本の風物 北から南), Matsuya (Ginza, Tokyo), 1958. Photographs of Japanese scenery.[5]
  • "Okinawa no fūbutsu" (沖縄の風物), Marunouchi Gekkō Gallery (Marunouchi, Tokyo), 1960. Photographs of Okinawan scenery.[5]
  • "Nihon no tō" (日本の塔), Marunouchi Gekkō Gallery (Marunouchi, Tokyo), 1964. Photographs of Japanese pagodas.[5]
  • "Koyomi" (こよみ), Marunouchi Gekkō Gallery (Marunouchi, Tokyo), 1973. Photographs of the calendar.[5]

Books by Nishiyama[edit]

  • Arusu geijutsu shashin gashū dai-2-hen (アルス芸術写真画集 第2編 Ars art photograph collection, 2nd ed). Tokyo: Ars, 1926. (in Japanese)
  • Hikinobashi no jissai (引伸の実際, The facts of enlarging). Asahi Camera Sōsho 11. Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1936. (in Japanese)
  • Kotō o tazunete (古塔を訪ねて, Visiting old pagodas). Tokyo: Jinbutsu-ōraisha, 1964. (in Japanese)
  • Nihon no kotō (日本の古塔, The pagodas of Japan). Tokyo: Kenkōsha, 1972. (in Japanese)
  • Shunkō shūshoku (春光秋色) / Seasonal Aspects of Japan. Sonorama Shashin Sensho 21. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1979. (in Japanese)(in English)


  1. ^ a b c d e Tatsuo Shirai, "Seasonal Aspects of Japan" (in English), unpaginated postface to Nishiyama, Shunkō shūshoku / Seasonal Aspects of Japan (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1979).
  2. ^ So tentatively inferred from 西山清之助, as specified (without any reading) by Nihon no shashinka (日本の写真家) / Biographic Dictionary of Japanese Photography (Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, 2005; ISBN 4-8169-1948-1), pp. 315–16. (in Japanese) Despite the English-language alternative title, all in Japanese.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Nihon no shashinka / Biographic Dictionary of Japanese Photography, pp. 315–16.
  4. ^ List of past awards, PSJ. (in Japanese) Accessed 20 December 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Chronology (in English)(in Japanese), unpaginated appendix to Nishiyama, Shunkō shūshoku / Seasonal Aspects of Japan (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1979).
  6. ^ a b Jinbo Kyōko (神保京子), "Nishiyama Kiyoshi", in Nihon shashinka jiten (日本写真家事典) / 328 Outstanding Japanese Photographers (Kyoto: Tankōsha, 2000; ISBN 4-473-01750-8), p.243. (in Japanese) Despite the English-language alternative title, all in Japanese.