Tsuneko Sasamoto

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Tsuneko Sasamoto
Sasamoto in 1952
Born(1914-09-01)1 September 1914
Died15 August 2022(2022-08-15) (aged 107)
Occupation(s)Photojournalist, photographer
Known forJapan's first female photojournalist
HonoursLucie Award for Lifetime Achievement

Tsuneko Sasamoto (笹本 恒子, Sasamoto Tsuneko, 1 September 1914 – 15 August 2022) was Japan's first female photojournalist.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sasamoto was born in Tokyo, Japan. She went to a college of home economics, but quit because of her ambition to become a painter. After dropping out, she attended an institute of painting without telling her parents, and a dressmaking school.[2]


Sasamoto started her career as a part-time illustrator on the local news pages in Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun (now Mainichi Shimbun, one of the newspapers in Japan). At 26, she got promoted to a probationary employee in 1940 when she joined the Photographic Society in Japan, officially becoming the first female photojournalist in Japan. She stated that Margaret Bourke-White was a major influence in why she became a photographer.[3] Sasamoto photographed subjects from General Douglas MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan to striking coalminers and protesting students.[4]

She published a photo book in 2011 called Hyakusai no Finder, or Centenarian’s Finder.[4] In 2014, Sasamoto had an exhibit of her work from her 2011 book called Hyakusai Ten, or, Centenarian’s Exhibition.[4] In 2015, Sasamoto published another book, Inquisitive Girl at 101.[3] She broke her left hand and both legs in 2015 but continued to photograph. Prior to her death, Sasamoto was working on a project called Hana Akari (Flower Glow) in honor of her friends who had died.[5]

Sasamoto turned 100 in September 2014,[6] and died of natural causes on 15 August 2022, at the age of 107.[7]


2016: Lucie Award for Lifetime Achievement[8]


  1. ^ "Japan's First Female Photojournalist is Still Shooting at the Age of 101". Petapixel.com. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  2. ^ 東京都写真美術館 (2000-01-01). 日本写真家事典: 東京都写真美術館所蔵作家 (in Japanese). 京都市: 淡交社. ISBN 4473017508. OCLC 44769689.
  3. ^ a b "At 101, Japan's First Female Photojournalist Reflects On Her Career". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Pioneer photojournalist blazed trails for women". The Japan Times. The Japan Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Meet Japan's First Female Photojournalist". Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  6. ^ Birmingham, Lucy (2014-09-02). "Tsuneko Sasamoto: 100 Years, 100 Women". artscape Japan. Dai Nippon Printing. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
  7. ^ "Pioneering Japanese woman photojournalist dies, aged 107". Reuters. 22 August 2022. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  8. ^ "2016 Lucie Awards". Lucies.org. Retrieved 3 January 2017.

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