Iwase Yoshiyuki was born in 1904 in Onjuku, a fishing village on the pacific side of the Chiba peninsula, which encloses Tokyo Bay on the east. After graduating from Meiji University Law School in 1924, he took up lifelong pursuits, heading the family sake distillery and documenting the receding traditions of coastal Japan. In the late 1920’s Yoshiyuki received an early Kodak camera as a gift. Since the main livelihood of the town came from the sea he gravitated there, and soon found a passion for “the simple, even primitive beauty” of ama – girls and women who harvested seaweed, turban shells and abalone from beneath the coastal waters..
This way of life has now completely disappeared but Yoshiyuki’s photographs provide a stunning visual testament to these fascinating women. His total output is of a very hight standard but it is his photographs of the ama divers which are truly iconic