Tomio Kondō

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Tomio Kondō (近藤 福雄, Kondō Tomio, January 24, 1900 – November 15, 1957) was an amateur photographer who lived on and energetically photographed Sado island in the Sea of Japan.[1]

Kondō was born to a landowning family in Kanazawa village (subsequently part of Kanai, which in turn was amalgamated within "Sado City"). He started with a camera at 18, and also had a keen interest in archaeology. Kondō photographed landscapes and a great variety of life on the island, as well as the figures from literary and artistic circles on the mainland who came to visit during the infancy of Sado's tourism industry. He financed this by gradually selling off land owned by the family.

Kondō was keen to keep up with the latest news on the island. He helped set up the Sado museum (佐渡博物館, Sado Hakubutsukan), of which he became a trustee, and organizations devoted to mountain walking and botany.

Kondō left a collection of about 8,840 plates on his death. These were bought by the bus company Niigata Kōtsū (新潟交通), which presented them to the Sado museum, but they were little known until 1979, when they were seen by Haruo Tomiyama (himself a notable photographer of Sado) and others. Four years later they became an Asahi Camera cover story, and thanks to the effort of Tomiyama and others they have been exhibited in Sado and anthologized in two books. The photographs then had some exposure in the general-interest media; for example, the 17 August 1995 issue of the magazine Serai (サライ, Sarai) had a six-page feature on them.

Sado City has recently started a photography contest in Kondō's honour.

Books of Kondō's works[edit]

  • Sado (佐渡). Iwanami Shashin Bunko 73. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1952. Kondō is listed as one of two individual photographers[2] who photographed the content with three organizations.(in Japanese)
  • Sado mangekyō (佐渡万華鏡), ed. Haruo Tomiyama. Matsumoto: Kyōdo Shuppansha (郷土出版社), 1994. ISBN 4-87663-264-2. A generous anthology of Kondō's work, showing family life, farming, tourism, new technology, popular spectacles, and much else. (in Japanese)[3]
  • Sado shashinchō (佐渡写真帖), ed. Hisao Kondō (近藤 寿雄) and Kinzō Isobe (磯部 欣三). Matsumoto: Kyōdo Shuppansha (郷土出版社), 2000. ISBN 4-87663-489-0. (in Japanese)


  1. ^ Kondō's given name of Tomio is written with characters (福雄) whose far more obvious reading is "Fukuo". The reading of this name is often given (e.g. in the OPAC of Tokyo Municipal Library) as "Fukuo"; however, Nihon no shashinka, Nihon shashinka jiten, the December 1983 Asahi Camera cover story and the flyer advertising the Kondō Tomio award all have "Tomio".
  2. ^ The other is 小田末吉, the reading of whose name is unknown.
  3. ^ Bibliographically this book is a little problematic: the colophon says 近藤福雄写真集1917~1945佐渡万華鏡 whereas the title page says ガラス乾板写真集 / 佐渡万華鏡 / Sado Island / 1917~1945. But it's clear that 佐渡万華鏡 is meant as the main title.


  • (in Japanese) Nihon no shashinka (日本の写真家) / Biographic Dictionary of Japanese Photography. Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, 2005. ISBN 4-8169-1948-1. Despite the English-language alternative title, all in Japanese.
  • (in Japanese) Nihon shashinka jiten (日本写真家事典) / 328 Outstanding Japanese Photographers. Kyoto: Tankōsha, 2000. ISBN 4-473-01750-8.
  • (in Japanese) "Sado 1918–1949" (佐渡1918~1949). Asahi Camera, December 1983. Pp. 15–46. A collection of Kondō's works.
  • (in Japanese) Shashinshū o yomu: Besuto 338 kanzen gaido (写真集を読む:ベスト338完全ガイド, Reading photobooks: A complete guide to the best 338). Tokyo: Metarōgu, 1997. ISBN 4-8398-2010-4. Sado mangekyō is written up.

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