Yōsuke Yamahata

  • Born 1917 in Singapore
  • Died 1966 in Tokyo, Japan

Yōsuke Yamahata is best known for his photographs of Nagasaki on August 10, 1945, the day after the city was bombed by U.S. forces at the end of World War II. He first studied at Hosei University in Tokyo, but left in 1936 before completing his studies in order to begin working in his father's photographic company, G. T. Sun (Graphic Times Sun). During World War II, Yōsuke Yamahata worked as a Japanese military photographer in China and elsewhere in Asia. After the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, he was sent to record the bomb’s effects. Within twelve hours Yōsuke Yamahata took nearly 120 photographs of the devastated landscape and the city’s survivors, the greatest immediate photographic documentation of Nagasaki or Hiroshima by a single photographer. His photographs were published in the Japanese magazine Mainichi Shibun, but due to postwar censorship they were not seen widely until 1952, in the magazines Life and Asahi Gurafu, in the book Kiroku-shashin: Genbaku no Nagasaki (Photo-Record: The Atomic Bomb of Nagasaki), and in the exhibition and catalogue Family of Man (1955). In 1965 he became violently ill with terminal cancer, exactly twenty years after his exposure to radiation at Nagasaki.

Artworks by Yōsuke Yamahata in the exhibition