PhotoWho’sWho slimmed down

PhotoWho’sWho, a collection of biographies of Japanese photographers, has been trimmed from 253 to about 190 biographies.

Over 50 biographies have been deleted with a click of my mouse. A few more may be deleted in the near future.

At first I thought, the more the merrier. But now, I realize that there are photographers who are too obscure to be listed and those who do not seem to garner much interest overseas (judging from the number of hits). These people I have eliminated without notice. (They probably didn’t know they were listed in the first place.)

I think quality is better than quantity…

“History of Japanese Photography” book review

In fall 2003, I heard through the grapevine that the publisher of this book was desperately trying to get this book reviewed by English daily newspapers in Japan.

I reviewed it in detail at PhotoReviews (see ) in Sept. 2003. I heard that at one major English daily, the book got passed around, but no one wanted to review it. I wonder why.

The book came out in March 2003 and finally we see a book review in print in English in Japan. A book review by Jeff Kingston appeared in The Japan Times on Jan. 11, 2004. See

Can you believe how long (10 months) it took for this important book to be reviewed in English in Japan?? I can’t believe that I was the first to review it in English in Japan. Even Sept. (6 months after the publishing date) is rather late…

PhotoBBS remodeled!

PhotoBBS now sports a new design and a few streamlining changes.

The PhotoPR, PhotoJobs, and PhotoQ&A forums have been deleted due to their under use (or uselessness). You can no longer post messages such as “My Web site opened!” or “Looking for photo job in Japan.”

PhotoClassifieds has been retained and it now accepts want ads for photographers (for people looking for photographers) as well as “equipment for sale” messages. It is not for posting “photographer available for work” messages. Sorry, but such messages tend to be useless.

New forums–PhotoDiary and the Japanese equivalent PhotoNikki have been newly added. This is where I post my innermost thoughts.

The forums are now in two categories, “English” and “Japanese.”
It has been a little over a year since PhotoBBS was started (in July 2002). It has been very useful, and I hope it will be even more useful henceforth.

That’s it!

PhotoReviews updated!

More book reviews have been added (and more still to come). For example:

  • The History of Japanese Photography
    by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
    The most comprehensive book ever published on Japanese photographic history in English.
  • Gunkanjima by Yuji Saiga
    Fine-art photos of an abandoned island nicknamed “Battleship Island”
    off the coast of Nagasaki.
  • Sento–The Japanese Public Bath in the 20th Century by Shoji Onuma
    Everything you wanted to know about Japan’s public baths, and then some. Detailed photographic record of public baths from Hokkaido to Okinawa.
  • Ravens by Masahisa Fukase
    The most beautiful book of crows you’ll ever see. One of Japan’s classic photo
  • Where Time Has Vanished by Ikko Narahara
    Timeless and surreal B/W landscapes taken in several states in the US.
  • PhotoGuide Japan Reborn!!


    If you haven’t noticed yet, I finally unveiled the Web site’s biggest update ever.

    Much of the site is now run and maintained by content management systems residing on the Web server. I’m using at least four server-side programs, each serving a specific purpose.

    For example, PhotoBBS (message boards) is run by a message board program, and DirectoryZONE is run by an address book program.

    The beauty of it all is that I can maintain most of the site with just a Web interface. I don’t have to start up Dreamweaver to change something each time. And most Web pages are dynamic instead of static. On dynamic pages, you can post comments and it will appear on the page on the fly. I still have some static pages on the site. PhotoReviews is still all static as well other pages that do not need to be changed often.

    Although none of the content management programs I’m using is perfect, they will continue to be improved by a very active, open-source, development community.

    I’m quite happy with how the revamped site has turned out. It took me almost 6 months to complete the changeover to a database-driven site. It was a lot of work and I spent much of my spare time working on it.

    It was both fun and frustrating. So many unexpected problems cropped up, but resolving them were the ultimate joy. If you’re not a computer programmer or software engineer, doing this kind of thing can really test your patience, analytical abilities, and problem-solving acumen. But I really learned a lot, and it feels great to have met the challenge.

    Note that this is only the beginning. I’ve only laid a new foundation for the site, and there’s a lot I plan to build on it. It’s a great feeling to know that there’s a strong foundation under the house I will build. I think I’ll take a break for a while though. Meanwhile, hope you all enjoy the new site!

    New Proxy Service page!!

    Through our Proxy Service, you can bid on auctions at Japanese auction sites and buy stuff at shopping sites. Since most sellers in Japan don’t ship overseas, we can obtain the item for you and ship it to you.

    Our Proxy Service page provides convenient links to Yahoo! Japan Auctions and other shopping sites so you can browse for items you want. You can also take our Quick Tour to see what’s what with sample screenshots translated into English.

    Go to Proxy Service page now!

    Introducing NewsZONE

    NewsZONE is our main content area where you will find articles, reports, and other text info. There are both dynamic and static Web pages.

    The database-driven, dynamic pages are What’s New, PhotoWho’sWho, PhotoHistory, PhotoFAQ, PhotoPolls, and PhotoWeblinks. These are interactive pages where you can post comments.

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