Kusakabe Kimbei

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Kusakabe Kimbei
BornNovember 24, 1841[1] or
November 27, 1841[2]
DiedApril 19, 1932[1] or
April 19, 1934[2]

Kusakabe Kimbei (日下部 金兵衛; 1841–1934) was a Japanese photographer. He usually went by his given name, Kimbei, because his clientele, mostly non-Japanese-speaking foreign residents and visitors, found it easier to pronounce than his family name.[3]: 8 


Kusakabe Kimbei worked with Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried as a photographic colourist and assistant. In 1881, Kimbei opened his own workshop in Yokohama, in the Benten-dōri quarter.[3] From 1889, the studio operated in the Honmachi quarter.[4]

By 1893, his was one of the leading Japanese studios supplying art to Western customers.[5] Many of the photographs in the studio's catalogue featured depictions of Japanese women, which were popular with tourists of the time.[5]: 10  Kimbei preferred to portray female subjects in a traditional bijinga style, and hired geisha to pose for the photographs.[6] Many of his albums are mounted in accordion fashion.[7][8]

Around 1885, Kimbei acquired the negatives of Felice Beato and of Stillfried, as well as those of Uchida Kuichi.[4] Kusakabe also acquired some of Ueno Hikoma's negatives of Nagasaki.

Kimbei retired as a photographer in 1914.[9]



  1. ^ a b c Nakamura, Hirotoshi (2006). 明治時代カラー写真の巨人 日下部金兵衛 (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: 国書刊行会. pp. 170–173. ISBN 4336047723.
  2. ^ a b "日下部 金兵衛 クサカベ キンベエ", 20-seiki Nihon jinmei jiten(20世紀日本人名事典) = Major 20th-century people in Japan : a biographical dictionary20世紀日本人名事典 (in Japanese), Tokyo, Japan: Nichigai AsoshieÌ"tsu., 2004, ISBN 4816918531, archived from the original on 2016-11-21, retrieved 2018-01-29{{citation}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ a b Tucker, Anne, ed. (2003). The history of Japanese photography. Yale University Press in association with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. ISBN 0300099258.
  4. ^ a b Bennett, Terry (19 February 2013). Early Japanese images (1st ed.). Charles E. Tuttle. p. 50. ISBN 978-1462911370.
  5. ^ a b Wakita, Mio (2013). Staging desires : Japanese femininity in Kusakabe Kimbei's nineteenth-century souvenir photography. Reimer. p. 14. ISBN 978-3-496-01467-6.
  6. ^ Kincaid, Chris (6 May 2018). "Felice Beato and Kimbei Kusakabe, Photographers of 1800s Japan". Japan Powered. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Exhibition: Visual Arts of Japan". Georgetown University Library. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  8. ^ Hockley, Allen (2010). "Globetrotters' Japan: People. Foreigners on the Tourist Circuit in Meiji Japan" (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology Visualizing Cultures. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  9. ^ Bennett, Terry (2012). Photography in Japan, 1853-1912. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-1462907083.

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