Shimazu by Ichiki -the oldest daguerreotype by a Japanese photographer

shimazu_by_ichikiIchiki Shirō, 市来 四郎 was born in Satsuma province, Japan on December 24, 1828. He rose up within the castes of Satsuma’s feudal society by showing an exemplary skill in the production of gunpowder and was selected by the Satsuma’s daimyo (feudal lord), Shimazu Nariakira to be his personal retainer. Fascinated by western technology, in 1848, Shimazu obtained the first daguerreotype camera ever imported into Japan and encouraged his retainers to study it and learn to create photographs with it. 

On 17 September 1857, Ichiki created a portrait of Shimazu, which initially became an object of worship after Shimazu’s death, but subsequently went missing for over a century.  It was discovered in a warehouse in 1975 and was determined to be the oldest daguerreotype in existence that was created by a Japanese photographer.


  • Kana Kukui, The First Photo Ever To Be Created By A Japanese Photographer,
  • Shimazu by Ichiki, wikipedia,
  • Ichiki Shiro, wikipedia,ō
  • A Short History of Photography In Japan, KCP International,

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