Takuma Kajiwara (Japanese: 梶原 琢磨, November 15, 1876 - March 11, 1960) was a widely known American artist of Japanese birth, who was called one of the seven greatest photographers in the United States.
Takuma came to St. Louis in 1905, "lured to the city partly by an offer of employment in a studio and even more by a desire to see the Mississippi River," according to his obituary in the St. Louis Star-Times. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in New York City on March 11, 1960.
While in St. Louis he lived at the Warwick Hotel.
When he was in his late 20s, he played billiards and was described by a sports reporter then as being "small, slight and supple." He used a cue stick presented to him by Willie Hoppe, the billiards master. Later in life, for recreation, he enjoyed golf.
Kajiwara was married on June 6, 1936, in Queens, New York, to Fern Horton Searls of Wisconsin, who had been employed as a social service worker at the Washington University clinic. They were wed in the home of Paul F. Berdanier, a former St. Louis artist. In 1938, the Kajiwaras went to Japan and stayed a year.
Kajiwara and artist Frederick Oakes Sylvester were friends. According to one account, their amity was "warm enough to cause them to cut wrists and mingle blood in a gesture of unity." Kajiwara did photographic work for The Great River, a book by Sylvester collecting his paintings of the Mississippi. Photos show the men painting together.
Kajiwara worked in a photographers' studio in Seattle, Washington, then went back to Japan, where, at the request of the government, he spent several months organizing photography clubs. He then returned to the United States, moving to St. Louis at the behest of a company that made photographic plates and wanted him to take charge of its studio at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. He opened his own studio shortly thereafter and moved it to the Century Building in 1914. He painted or wrote philosophical essays in his spare time.
|“||Portrait photography should have dignity. It is not like selling neckties.||”|
|— Kajiwara, 1936.|
In his paintings, he combined Oriental and American techniques. Kajiwara was especially talented for photographing women, being quoted at one time by fellow photographer Albert H. Strebler as often telling them "I will make you look like a glamor queen."
New York City
He also said that portrait photography in St. Louis had "become more commercialized, more a matter of high-pressure salesmanship." He said that portrait photography should have more dignity attached to it" and that such a "speculative business is not in my line."
- Kajiwara received the gold medal of honor in the 1951 and 1954 Allied Artists of America exhibition at the National Academy Galleries in New York City.
- The Photographers' Association of America identified him as one of the best photographers in America.
- His paintings were hung not only in St. Louis, but also in the Pennsylvania Academy, the Detroit Institute of Arts and other museums.
- His prizes included the St. Louis Artists Guild, 1922; Weinmar, 1924; Mallinckrodt, 1926; Kansas City Art Institute, 1926; Baldwin, 1928 and 1932; Werner, 1929; and Allied Artists of America, 1945, 1948 and 1951. The 1951 honor was for a painting of the Garden of Eden titled "It All Happened in Six Days."
- His work was in the permanent collections of Hunter College, Tuttle Memorial in St. Louis, Johns Hopkins, Washington and St. Louis universities.
Notes and references
- "Takuma Kajiwara, Artist, Dies at 83," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 13, 1960, page 17A
- "St. Louis Losing Kajiwara Because He Finds After 31 Years It Is Poor Soil for His Art," St. Louis Star-Times, February 7, 1906, page 1
- "Kajiwara, Noted Photographer, to Leave St. Louis," St. Louis Star-Times, February 6, 1936, page 3
- Virginia Irwin,"An Artist's Farewell to St. Louis," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 12, 1936, page 3D (with photographs)
- "Kajiwara Weds Former St. Louis Welfare Worker," St. Louis Star-Times, June 11, 1936, page 1
- John Gardner, "Noted Japanese-American Artist Visits Here," Tampa Bay Times, March 18, 1951, page 75 (with self-portrait and photograph of Fern Searls Kajiwara)
- "Index to Petitions for Naturalization Filed in New York City, No. 7181920," cited by Douglas of Sweden in PentaxForums.com, November 10, 2011
- "Kajiwara Dead; Painter Was 83
-  According to the Asahi Optical Historical Club, Kajiwara was a relative of Kumao Kajiwara, the founder of the Asahi Company and Saburo Matsumoto, the company's president. The firm's Takumar lens is reported to have been named after him.
- "Kajiwara to Leave St. Louis and Go East," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 6, 1936, page 8
- "Jap Gentlemen Play Billiards," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 27, 1905
- New York City Marriage Certificate Index, 1866-1937, Ancestry.com
- "Kajiwara Marries Miss Fern Searls," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 12, 1936, page 6A
- Passenger Lists, New York, 1897-1957
- Social Security Applications and Claims Index
- New York City Death Index
- Williams, Paul O. (1986). Frederick Oakes Sylvester: the artist's encounter with Elsah. Historic Elsah Foundation. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
- United Press International, "The Grim Reaper," The Daily Courier, Connellsville, Pennsylvania, March 15, 1960, page 4
- Dick Norrish, "Lifetime of Making Pictures Continues," Edwardsville (Illinois) Intelligencer, June 9, 1975, page 3
- "Takuma Kajiwara Wins Top Prize in Art Exhibition," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 24, 1951, page 5A
- "Artist Dies," Associated Press, The Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas, March 13, 1960, page 22
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Category:Takuma Kajiwara.|
- "St. Louis Jap on School Question," The Republic (Columbus, Indiana), February 12, 1907, page 3. Kajiwara gives his opinion about California actions against Japanese-born school children.
- "Major Visits Artists and Exchanges Compliments," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 14, 1925, page 19. Sketch of Kajiwara by artist Henry Major.
- (in Japanese) Niimi Kahee (新見嘉兵衛), Kamera-mei no gogen sanpo (カメラ名の語源散歩, Strolls in the etymology of camera names), 2nd ed. (Tokyo: Shashin Kōgyō Shuppansha, 2002; ISBN 487956060X, p.18.
-  An investigation by enthusiasts into the supposed Japanese gravesite of Fujiwara's remains.
-  Personal references to Kujiwara by people who owned his portraits.