(1909-07-12)July 12, 1909 Ōchi, Shimoina District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
November 6, 2010(2010-11-06) (aged 101) Tokyo, Japan
MotoichiKumagai (熊谷 元一,Kumagai Motoichi, 12 July 1909 – 6 November 2010) was a Japanesephotographer and illustrator of books for children, known for his portrayal of rural and school life.
Born in Ōchi (会地; now Achi), Shimoina District, Nagano Prefecture, Kumagai worked from 1930 to 1933 as a teacher. He had his first work for children published in the May 1932 issue of the magazine Kodomo no Kuni. In 1936 he bought a Pearlette camera (a Konishiroku derivative of the Vest Pocket Kodak), with a simple meniscus lens, and started to use this to photograph village life; his first photograph collection was published two years later by Asahi Shinbunsha. In 1939 he went to Tokyo as a government photographer and was later sent three times to Manchukuo; after the war, he returned to teach in his village.
Kumagai published books of works for children as well as books of photographs. His photographs are held in the permanent collection of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and a volume of the series Nihon no Shashinka is dedicated to his work. He received various honours for his work, especially since around 1990. The village of Achi created a gallery, Kumagai Motoichi Shashin Dōgakan, for the permanent exhibition of his work.
He died in 2010, in a nursing home in Tokyo, of natural causes.
Books by Kumagai
(As illustrator.) Gakkō ehon: Shūshin no maki (学校ヱホン 修身ノ巻). Tokyo: Suzuki Jin Seidō, 1936. (in Japanese)
(As writer and illustrator.) Jiicha no kodomo no koro (じいちゃの子どものころ). Tokyo: Fuzanbō Intānashonaru, 2005. ISBN4-902385-12-0. (in Japanese)
(As illustrator and photographer.) Ichinensei no toki sensō ga hajimatta: Warera kokumin gakkō funsenki (一年生のとき戦争が始まった われら国民学校奮戦記). Tokyo: Nōsangyoson Bunka Kyōkai, 2005. ISBN4-540-04358-7. (in Japanese)
Shashinka Kumagai Motoichi to media no jidai: Shōwa no kiroku/kioku(写真家・熊谷元一とメディアの時代 昭和の記録/記憶). Tokyo: Seikyūsha, 2005. ISBN4-7872-7205-5. (in Japanese)
(As writer and illustrator.) Kodomo sekai no gen-fūkei (子ども世界の原風景). Iida: Shin'yōsha, 2007. ISBN978-4-88242-191-7. (in Japanese)
(As photographer.) Shinshū Shōwa no gen-fūkei: Kumagai Motoichi Hakuju kinen shashinshū (信州・昭和の原風景 熊谷元一白寿記念写真集). Nagano: Issōsha Shuppan, 2008. ISBN978-4-902842-41-8. (in Japanese)
^Motoichi is the reading of 元一 supplied by Kumagai Motoichi Shashin Dōgakan (although this uses Kunrei/Nihon rather than Hepburn romanization and thus spells it Motoiti) and Nihon no shashinka (日本の写真家) / Biographic Dictionary of Japanese Photography(in Japanese) (Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, 2005; ISBN4-8169-1948-1). According to Keiko Suzuki (鈴木佳子, Suzuki Keiko), "Kumagai Motokazu" (in Japanese), 328 Outstanding Japanese Photographers (日本写真家事典, Nihon shashinka jiten; Kyoto: Tankōsha, 2000; ISBN4-473-01750-8), p.114, the reading is Motokazu Kumagai (Motokazu Kumagai).