Pioneering Japanese woman photojournalist dies, aged 107

By Thomson Reuters Aug 22, 2022 | 3:26 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tsuneko Sasamoto, a pioneering photographer considered to be Japan’s first female photojournalist, who swore by a glass of red wine each night as one of the keys to good health, has died at the age of 107, domestic media said on Monday.

She died on Aug. 15 of old age, media added – just over two weeks before her 108th birthday.

Born in Tokyo the year World War One began, Sasamoto originally wanted to be a painter but was discouraged from it by her father. Inspired by a black-and-white film she saw with a friend, she began working as a photographer and in 1940 joined the Photographic Association of Japan.

Her subjects ranged from the famous, such as General Douglas MacArthur, who oversaw the post-World War Two U.S. occupation of Japan, to the wives of coal miners.

In an interview on the website Art and Design Inspiration after turning 107, Sasamoto said a glass of red wine every night and a piece of chocolate every day were among the keys to her longevity.

“You should never become lazy,” she said. “It’s essential to remain positive about your life and never give up.”

She added, “You need to push yourself and stay aware, so you can move forward.”

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)