Shima Ryū

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Shima Ryū
Photo of Shima Ryū.jpg
Born1823 (1823)
Died1900 (aged 76–77)
Known forPhotography
Shima Kakoku (m. 1855)

Shima Ryū (島 隆, 1823–1900[1] [2]) was a Japanese artist and pioneering photographer. Originally from Kiryū, in what is now Gunma Prefecture, she studied at an art school in Edo (now Tokyo) where she met Shima Kakoku (1827–1870), a fellow student. The two married in 1855 and soon began moving about the Kantō region, possibly exhibiting their works along the way.

A wet plate photograph of Shima Kakoku by his wife, Shima Ryū in 1864.[citation needed] This is believed to be the first photograph taken by a Japanese woman.[citation needed]

At some point the couple learned photography, and in the spring of 1864 Ryū photographed her husband, thereby creating the earliest known photograph by a Japanese woman.[1][3][4] The negative is on deposit at the Tojo Historical Museum, a wet-plate print of this portrait remains in the Shima family archives and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has an albumen print.[4]

The Shimas operated a photographic studio in Edo[5] in about 1865 to 1867, until Kakoku accepted a teaching position at Kaiseijo. Following her husband's death in 1870, Ryū returned to Kiryū where she opened her own studio.[4] She died in 1900.


  1. ^ a b Terry Bennett (2006). Photography in Japan: 1853–1912. Charles E Tuttle. ISBN 0-8048-3633-7.
  2. ^ Bennett, 129; Nihon no shashinka. "Ryū" according to Nihon no shashinka. (Bennett's spelling of "Ryu" should be discounted: in what is otherwise a scrupulously written book, Bennett or his publisher consistently omits macrons.) Her maiden name is unknown.
  3. ^ Nihon no shashinka (日本の写真家) / Biographic Dictionary of Japanese Photography. Tokyo: Nichigai Associates. 2005. p. 209. ISBN 4-8169-1948-1.
  4. ^ a b c Anne Tucker, Kōtarō Iizawa (2003). History of Japanese Photography. Yale University Press.
  5. ^ Nihon no shashinka specifies Shitaya.