At 101 years old, renowned Japanese photographer Tsuneko Sasamoto continues to express her artistic voice and capture stunning images. Considered to be her country’s first photojournalist at the age of 25, Sasamoto has been documenting history for over 70 years, including pre- and post-war Japan. Her photographs highlighted the country’s dramatic shift from a totalitarian regime to an economic superpower, and the social implications that arose from it.
Sasamoto shooting in her 20s.
Sasamoto shooting at 97 years old.
Tsuneko Sasamoto on the cover of her book, Hyakusai no Finder.
Sasamoto remains enthusiastic about her profession, continuing to impact her chosen field. In 2011, at the age of 97, she published a photo book called Hyakusai no Finder, or Centenarian’s Finder. When she turned 100, she opened an exhibition of selected images.
Now, Sasamoto is currently working on a project called Hana Akari, or Flower Glow, an homage to her friends who have passed away. She is completing this series despite breaking her left hand and both legs last year. Determined to not let it get the best of her, she has attended physical rehabilitation three times a week to get better. When speaking to NHK World shortly before her 100th birthday, Sasamoto offered sage advice.
“You should never become lazy. It’s essential to remain positive about your life and never give up,” Sasamoto told NHK. “You need to push yourself and stay aware, so you can move forward. That’s what I want people to know.”