About PhotoGuide Japan

OiranWelcome to PhotoGuide Japan!

PhotoGuide Japan (photojpn.org) is basically a resource site to educate you about Japanese photography. It mainly covers the cultural and historical aspects of photography in Japan such as Japanese photography history, Japanese photographer biographies, photo book reviews, and photography-related listings (photo galleries, camera stores, etc.).

It does not provide product information such as equipment reviews, camera prices, new product announcements, etc. Such information is readily available from other sources.

Sorry to say that some parts of the site are not updated anymore.

PhotoGuide Japan humbly started out in spring 1996 as a pioneering online guide to photography in Japan, becoming the world’s most comprehensive (but far from complete) English resource on photography in Japan.

The 1990s to mid-2000s turned out to be a most interesting period for photography in Japan. Museums started to collect photography, photography spread widely among teenagers (especially girls), many interesting photo books and magazines were published, the pubic hair ban was abolished, and there was the dizzying development of technologies for the Internet, digital cameras, and camera phones. I feel lucky to have witnessed all this.

However, by the mid-2000s, photography in Japan became more routine and ordinary and the market was shrinking. Photo book and magazine sales dropped, many photo book publishers folded, photo galleries closed, and even the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography was operating in the red. I didn’t find the photography culture in Japan as interesting or exciting anymore.

So I’m sorry to say that the content related to Japanese photography is no longer updated here and some of it dates back to the 1990s to mid-2000s. The photography history page (PhotoHistory) stops at 2006. The book reviews (PhotoReviews) are only for old photo books published in the 1990s to mid-2000s.

Another major blow was when the developer of the database software running my listings for camera shops, galleries, etc., stopped updating the software and it broke after the server software was updated. Although I saved most of the data, it was too much work to transfer all of it to a new system. After some years of neglect, I’ve started restoring the listings. The work is still progressing so you may still see some outdated information. I’ve given priority to the listing of camera service centers (PhotoRepairs) so it is pretty much up to date.

I also got less motivated to update the site because as the Internet and websites developed, more information about Japanese photography became available from other sources like Wikipedia. Most Japanese photographers, photo galleries, and museums in Japan also now have their own Web sites, sometimes in English. Back in 1996 to early 2000s, such information was still scarce.

At the same time, my interest shifted to travel photos of Japan to promote Japan as a tourist destination. From 2004, PhotoGuide Japan was complemented by a sister site called PHOTOGUIDE.JP which focuses on introducing Japan through photographs to promote tourism. Both sites at photojpn.org and PHOTOGUIDE.JP share common resources such as online photo galleries and blogs so you will see both domain names used interchangeably and seamlessly. PHOTOGUIDE.JP is updated often with new photos of Japan. As of late 2014, it has over 48,000 online photos of Japan in over 900 albums (photo sets).

PhotoGuide Japan has (or had) three main objectives:

1. To introduce Japanese photography to the English-speaking world. It aims to rectify the lack of information in English on the cultural and historical aspects of Japanese photography.

2. To promote better understanding of Japan through photographs and the written word.

3. To conduct and promote international exchange and networking on a grassroots level through photography.

· How is the site content organized?
First of all, there are two domain names: photojpn.org concentrates on Japanese photography, while PHOTOGUIDE.JP serves as a travel photo guide to Japan with numerous images (and videos) of temples, shrines, festivals, etc., from all over Japan. (Images available for licensing.) It also provides Japan tourist information in English.

On the home page, PhotoGuide Japan is organized as follows:

  • Blog – Much of the content is hosted here.
  • Photos – My thousands of photos of Japan organized according to prefecture/city/town at PHOTOGUIDE.JP.
  • Videos – My videos on YouTube, centering on Japanese festivals (matsuri).
  • Articles – In-depth articles about Japanese photography.
  • Meet – Information for meeting photographers and/or their work in Japan.
  • Learn – For learning more about Japanese photography such as the history.
  • Tech – Listings of camera repair centers, camera shops, etc.
  • Photo Ops – Sample categories of photos in the Photos section.

You can always return to the home page by clicking on the PhotoGuide Japan logo on the upper left corner.

· Who is behind this site?
It’s just little ol’ me. Name’s Philbert Ono.

I operate and maintain the site all by myself here in Tokyo, Japan. I’m totally independent and have total control over all content and management of this site.

I work as a freelance translator, photographer, and sometimes tour guide. I’m a Japanese-American originally from Hawai’i. Basically, I like to take pictures of things Japanese especially people and festivals. Every month, I visit a new places or see a festival in Japan that I’ve never seen before. My harvest of the best images are displayed on this Web site.

I’ve been taking pictures since high school, and Japan is so full of visual imagery that it’s a photographer’s paradise.

I’m learning a lot by all this, and people find my site useful and informative as well. It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun and a learning experience for me.

· Who is your target user?
We target the following people:

– Amateur and pro photographers.
– People interested in Japanese photography or photography in general.
– People interested in Japan.
– People doing research on Japanese photography.
– Foreign tourists and residents in Japan.
– Clients wanting to hire a photographer in Japan.
– Japanese wanting to learn English.

· Are you on Facebook?
Yes, we have a Facebook group called Photographers Japan. This is a discussion forum for people interested in both photography and Japan. Many members live outside Japan.

· What other services do you offer?
For a complete list of our services, see PhotoGuide Japan Services.

· Why not use Flickr to host your images?
It doesn’t make sense to pay money to Flickr when I can make money by keeping my images on my own site and having ads. I also have total control over my online photo galleries. I can write captions below thumbnail images even. Flickr’s thumbnails are tiny little square images which show only part of the image. Their system just doesn’t work with me. I also prefer to keep my visitors on my site instead of redirecting them somewhere else.

· What’s the meaning of PhotoGuide Japan’s logo?
The circles were designed to look like the front of a camera lens. The three circles represent photographers in their own worlds orbiting this thing called photography. And together with the two straight lines on the bottom, it looks like a roll of film. The logo was designed by Utako Minamino and Philbert Ono.

· Is there a Japanese version of the site?
No Japanese version, only a Japanese intro page here.

· Acknowledgements
I want to thank everyone visiting PhotoGuide Japan, customers of PhotoGuide Japan’s online mail order service, and all the great people I’ve met online. I also want to thank the people who invented the Internet and WWW and made them accessible to the masses.

· Disclaimer
Although utmost efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented in PhotoGuide Japan, all information is presented on an “as is” basis. Use the information only at your own risk. The author and PhotoGuide Japan’s Internet Web presence provider shall not be liable to any person or entity with respect to any liability, loss, damage, accident, or inconvenience caused or alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly by any of the information contained in PhotoGuide Japan.

The mention of companies, service providers, and other vendors in PhotoGuide Japan is for informational purposes only and does not constitute any endorsement.

· Privacy policy

  • Any private or personal information you give us through email or other means will be kept private unless we are requested by law enforcement authorities for such information.
  • If you appear in any of the images we display on our Websites (photojpn.org, photoguide.jp, shiga-ken.com) and do not want your face to be recognizable or included in the image in question, we will honor any requests to delete the image or blur your face.
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  • You may opt out of the use of the DoubleClick cookie for interest-based advertising by visiting the ads preference manager. (Alternatively, you can opt out of a third-party vendor’s use of cookies for interest based advertising by visiting aboutads.info.)
  • The cookies of other third-party vendors or ad networks may also be used to serve ads on our sites.
  • You can opt out of the use of cookies for interest-based advertising (if the vendor or ad network offers this capability) by visiting those sites (click on link above). Alternatively, you can also to opt out of some third-party vendors’ use of cookies for interest-based advertising by visiting aboutads.info.

· Copyright Notice
Unless stated otherwise, all text, graphics, and photographs are Copyright (c) 1996-2013 by Philbert Ono. All rights reserved.

No part of this Web site may be reproduced, transmitted, or translated into any language in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author or artist. The information presented may be stored in a storage or retrieval system only for personal reference purposes and not for redistribution in any form.

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