Yuichiro Sasaki

Yuichiro Sasaki (1917-1980), an independent photographer, recorded Hiroshima’s devastation and recovery from the atomic bombing. Mr. Sasaki, one of Hiroshima’s leading photographers of that era, began focusing his lens on the A-bomb Dome shortly after the bombing and went on to capture the dawn of the nuclear age. Nearly every day, up to the last years of his life, Mr. Sasaki would bicycle around the city and take photos. His passion for photographing Hiroshima began when he returned to his hometown and found the city in ruins.

Yuichiro Sasaki was born in today’s Nishi Tokaichi district in downtown Hiroshima and studied photography at a photography school in Tokyo.After Japan’s defeat, he returned to Hiroshima on August 18, 1945. He carried with him some rolls of film, which were given to him as severance pay. He found that 13 members of his family had perished, including his mother, his brother and his brother’s family, and his sisters.

“I was just going to take photos of the places where my relatives died…but then I wanted to take photos of another place, and then another. That’s how I went deeper and deeper into this.” He ended up taking photos of grave markers all over the Hiroshima delta. Mr. Sasaki described his work in the ruins of the city: “I continued pressing the shutter, and before I knew it, I had taken 100,000 pictures. The negatives mean everything to me now.” Overcoming an eye disease, he remained an independent photographer, his words conveying pride in the way he chose to live his life.