Terushichi Hirai

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Terushichi Hirai (平井 輝七 Hirai Terushichi?, 5 December 1900 - 11 December 1970) was one of the most prominent Japanese photographers in the first half of the 20th century in Japan.

As an amateur photographer, he was very energetic in photography groups, such as Naniwa Photography Club (浪華写真倶楽部, Naniwa Shashin Kurabu) and Tampei Photography Club.

In 1937, he founded Avant-Garde Image Group (Avant-Garde Zoei Shūdan, アヴァンギャルド造影集団) with Gingo Hanawa (1894-1957, 花和銀吾), Yoshio Tarui and Kōrō Honjō.

He was good at extremely imaginative, illusionary and surrealistic photography, perfectly using photomontages and color painting on prints. His works such as "Fantasies of the Moon" (月の夢想, 1938), "Mode" (1938, モード, Mōdo) and "Life" (1938, 生命, Seimei) are unique and among the most important works for the history of Japanese photography before WWII.


  • Kaneko Ryūichi. Modern Photography in Japan 1915-1940. San Francisco: Friends of Photography, 2001. ISBN 0-933286-74-0
  • Tucker, Anne Wilkes, et al. The History of Japanese Photography. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-300-09925-8
  • (Japanese) Exhibition Catalogue for The Founding and Development of Modern Photography in Japan (日本近代写真の成立と展開展), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (東京都写真美術館), 1995 (no ISBN). This catalogue reproduces "Fantasies of the Moon", "Mode" and "Life".
  • (Japanese) Kiyoshi Koishi and avant-garde photography (小石清と前衛写真) Nihon no shashinka (日本の写真家, "Japanese Photographers"), volume 15. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1999. ISBN 4-00-008355-4