1905 - 1992
Irie was born in Nara Prefecture and started
photography in his teens being taught by his brother. In 1925
he landed a job with a camera store in Osaka and by 1931 had
established his own photographic company called Kogeisha. This
Osaka firm mainly did product and advertising photography as
well as selling photographic merchandise.
In 1939 Irie started photographing traditional
Japanese puppetry called bunraku which led to his first solo
exhibition on the subject in Osaka in 1942. In the years that
followed, Irie lost his home and business during the allied bombing
raids of Osaka in 1945, forcing him to return to his family home
Throughout the 1940s Irie photographed Buddhist
temples and relics which led to a lifelong pursuit of the subject.
His Buddhist images were first published in the early 1940s and
by 1958 began publishing a series of ongoing books on the
subject which led to much commercial success throughout his career.
By the end of his life he had published numerous titles, many
of which were sumptuous volumes by Japanese publishers.
Irie died in January, 1992 three months
before a photography museum dedicated to his life work opened
in Nara City. This museum is called the Nara-shi Shashin Bijutsukan
or Nara City Museum of Photography. He is best known for documenting
Buddhist relics and “Yamatoji”, the historical sites
of Nara Prefecture.
Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum link (Japanese):