Tamamura Kosaburo
Japanese Photographer

Kozaburo Tamamura (1856-1923?) began in the photography business with a shop in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1874. In 1883 he moved to Yokohama and opened a studio where he prospered. He specialized in "souvenir photo albums" of Japan which were exported. He also conducted portrait photography in his studio. He is regarded as one of the originators of "Yokohama Shashin" (tourist photographs). It appears the zenith of his production was in the 1890s. He produced albumen photographs as well as collotypes. These were often hand colored. It is my observation that his collotype photographs were generally of the small format. They were in the nature of 4~5 x 5.5~7 in image area size. Kosaburo Tamamura export albums often sometimes came with "grass type covers" as well as in lacquer over wood covers.

It is said that in the 1890s Tamamura employed over 100 colorists to fill a special order (sometimes stated to be 180,000) for hand colored photographs. It is widely accepted that these were the albumen photographs tipped into Brinkley's Japan Described and Illustrated set which was actually published in the United States.

There was another important photographer by the name of Tamamura who was in business at the same time as Tamamura Kosaburo. This was Tamamura Kihei. There was also a enterprise known as "Tamamura the Photographer, Kobe." This was a branch office of K. Tamamura's Yokohama studio. For more information on color collotype books by Tamamura of Kobe and the Takagi Company, click here

Recorded Addresses for Kosaburo Tamamura:

  • Benten-dori, 1-chome, number 2, Yokohama (1890)
  • Studio called Gyokushin-do at Sumiyoshi-cho, 4-chome, Bashamichi-dori, Yokohama (1890 perhaps earlier)
  • No. 2, Kobe (1903)
  • Ogami-cho, 5-chome, Yokohama (1916-1923)

Tamamura Kosaburo Books noted:

  • A Leaf From the Diary of a Young Lady, Yokohama, Kosaburo Tamamura, c1904, oblong 8vo (10 x 7 1/4 in), black with gold floral/leaf pattern covers, 24 pp. This book is composed of 24 hand colored collotype photographs by Tamamura. Each photograph has an English explanation of what it depicts. The photographs follow Miss "Tokimatsu" through a day. They start with receipt of a letter inviting her to a social event at a friend's home - dressing and preparing (several Kimono views) - arriving at the event (a tea) - the actual "tea ceremony" - playing the koto - drinking sake - return home in a jinrikisha - disrobing (several views of the kimono coming off but no nudity, shucks) - eating supper, smoking a pipe, going to sleep and dreaming of her "hero." The collotypes pages measure 7 x 9 1/2 inches. The image areas vary slightly but measure 4 1/4 ~ 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 ~ 6 inches. The collotypes are protected with tissue guards. There is no colophon. This is one of Kozaburo Tamamura best known books. For more information on this book, click here.

  • Japanese Views and Characters, a three volume set, Yokohama, Kosaburo Tamamura, c1910, oblong 8vo, decorative covers, string tied. Volume 1 covers Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Nagasaki. Volume 2 covers Yokohama, Kamakura, Fuji and Nagoya. Volume 3 deals with Tokyo and Nikko. Each volume has 24 hand colored, tissue guarded, collotypes
    For more information on Volume II, type 1, click here.
    For more information on Volume II, type 2, click here.
    For more information on Volume III, click here.

  • Famous Scenes in Japan

  • The Japan, Yokohama, Tamamura, c1900, color woodblock printed type cover, oblong 7.5 x 25 cm, 12 black & white collotype photographs, each with English descriptive paragraph.

  • No Title. Publication estimated to be Fifty Hand Colored Albumen photographs of Yokohama in an accordion folding album with grass covers. The album is basically divided into two sections of 25 photos per side. The first section contains 25 portraits of Japanese women (19 - studio posed) or scenes (6). The second section The verso consists of 25 scenes, with English pencil on some labeling the place name. Pages are 18 x 12 cm and photographs are 13 x 9 cm. $4,500.

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Special Interest Books/Art:
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    ~ Shimbi Shoin - Art Reproduction Books
    ~ Tamamura/Takagi, Kobe - Color Collotype Books
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Blackie the Photographer - Okinawa Photo Essay Books
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