Tsuneko Sasamoto

Tsuneko Sasamoto (笹本 恒子, Sasamoto Tsuneko, born September 1, 1914) was Japan's first female photojournalist.[1] She turned 100 in September 2014.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Sasamoto was born in Tokyo, Japan. She went to college of home economics, but quit because she had an ambition to become a painter. After the dropout, she went to an institute of painting (without telling parents) and a dressmaking school.[3]


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 calls Margaret Bourke-White a major influence in why she became a photographer.[4] Sasamoto photographed subjects from General Douglas MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan to striking coalminers and protesting students.[5]

She published a photo book in 2011 called Hyakusai no Finder, or Centenarian’s Finder.[5] In 2014, Sasamoto had an exhibit of her work from her 2011 book called Hyakusai Ten, or, Centenarian’s Exhibition.[5] In 2015, Sasamoto published another book, Inquisitive Girl at 101.[4] She broke her left hand and both legs in 2015 but continues to photograph. Sasamoto is currently working on a project called Hana Akari, or Flower Glow.[6] The book is in honor of her friends who have died.


2016: Lucie Award for Lifetime Achievement[7]


  1. ^ "Japan's First Female Photojournalist is Still Shooting at the Age of 101". Petapixel.com. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  2. ^ Birmingham, Lucy (2014-09-02). "Tsuneko Sasamoto: 100 Years, 100 Women". artscape Japan. Dai Nippon Printing. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b "At 101, Japan's First Female Photojournalist Reflects On Her Career". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Pioneer photojournalist blazed trails for women". The Japan Times. The Japan Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Meet Japan's First Female Photojournalist". Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  7. ^ "2016 Lucie Awards". Lucies.org. Retrieved 3 January 2017.

External linksEdit