Philbert Ono

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Last updated: Aug. 2, 2011

Hello, I'm the owner/operator/writer/editor of PHOTOGUIDE.JP, PhotoGuide Japan,, and user photojpn at YouTube.

I'm an American citizen of Japanese ancestry born and raised in Hawaii, USA. Graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I now live and work in Tokyo, Japan. I am fluent in Japanese--reading, writing, and speaking. For taking pictures of Japan, I specialize in Tokyo and Shiga Prefecture (next to Kyoto). My favorite subjects are festivals, women in kimono, castles, temples, shrines, sumo, and other traditional Japanese things.

Besides shooting still photos, I also enjoy shooting and editing videos and uploading them to YouTube for all to see. I am a Festival Freak or Matsuri Maniac. I aim to see and shoot as many festivals in Japan as I can during the rest of my life.

I also like to promote tourism in Japan. I want more people from overseas to visit Japan, and want them to know that there's much more than just Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara. The first step to understanding Japan is to visit this country, even as a tourist. I am most active within the Tokyo to Osaka corridor.

Learning about Japan and explaining Japan to English-speaking, non-Japanese people is my life work.

On rainy days, I sometimes scan/digitize my old photos shot with film and home movies. I have been digitizing my most important and favorite baby photos and old photos/movies of family, relatives, and friends. Consequently, I have been giving my relatives and friends my digitized photos/movie clips in which they appear.

Other facts about me:

  • Macintosh user. Although I do have Windows 7 installed in my iMac.
  • Canon camera user. Used to be a diehard Nikon user during the film days, but switched to Canon for digital photography.
  • Non-smoker. (So if you arrange a meeting with me, don't smoke.)
  • I have tens of thousands of photos of Japan online which are available for licensing.

To contact me, click here.

Past Activities

  • 1996
    • Started PhotoGuide Japan Web site.
  • 1997
    • Mar. - PhotoGuide Japan obtains its own domain name at
    • Summer - Article titled Early Showa Photographs co-authored by Philbert Ono and Edward Wright, appears in the summer issue (No. 15) of DARUMA magazine.
    • July-Aug. - The 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale is held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. One of the 40 finalists (out of 672 entrants), Jennifer Grossblatt from Los Angeles, California, was sponsored by PhotoGuide Japan. Her work was titled "Hollywood's Runaways."
  • 1998
    • April - PhotoGuide Japan enters the e-commerce age with the launching of MailOrderZONE to sell Japanese photo books, magazines, videos, and CD-ROMs online.
  • 1999
    • May-June - Milan-based Zoom magazine (May-June 1999, No. 32 issue) reviews PhotoGuide Japan in an article called Web Circuit which introduced Japan's best photography Web sites.
    • Sep.-Oct. - The Sep.-Oct 1999 issue (No. 34) of Milan-based Zoom magazine runs an article named Vision Japan authored by Philbert who wrote about upcoming photo exhibitions in Japan.
    • Oct. 23 - Sponsored and organized by PhotoGuide Japan, the 1st Tokyo International Photo Showcase (TIPS '99) is held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography's hall. Consisted of a slide show (with live music) by several Japanese and overseas photographers.
  • 2000
    • Oct. 20 - Book Portraits in Sepia is published by Asahi Sonorama and authored by Naomi Izakura and Torin Boyd. PhotoGuide Japan is cited as a reference source.
    • Oct. 28 - Sponsored and organized by PhotoGuide Japan, the 2nd Tokyo International Photo Showcase (TIPS 2000) is held at the Yokohama Museum of Art's Lecture Hall. Consisted of a slide show by several Japanese and overseas photographers and sales booths by the photographers.
  • 2001
    • June - A Japanese book called Home Page Best 5000 is published by ASCII and lists PhotoGuide Japan as one of Japan's best photography Web sites along with Canon, Minolta, Kodak Japan, and Fuji Film.
    • Nov. - A photo book titled Naked Women is published by Thunder's Mouth Press and edited by Philip Braham. The book contains artistic nudes by renown photographers such as Nobuyoshi Araki, Eve Arnold, Edward Weston, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray, Bill Brandt, Eugene Atget, Imogen Cunningham, and Philbert Ono.
    • Nov. 13-18 - Sponsored and organized by PhotoGuide Japan, the Kyoto International Photo Showcase (KIPS 2001) is held at the Kyoto International Community House. Consisted of a photo exhibition and slide show talk by several Japanese and overseas photographers. Special guests included IZIMA Kaoru (fashionable corpses) and world-famous Spencer Tunick who was visiting Japan.
  • 2003
    • May - An article on Philbert Ono and PhotoGuide Japan appears in Tokyo-based PhotoStage magazine.
  • 2004
    • April - PhotoGuide Japan is listed as one of Japan's best photography sites in Nagoya-based Japanzine's the best of Japan on the web 2004 article.
    • Nov. - Book Japan: A Self-Portrait : Photographs 1945 - 1964 is published by Paris-based Flammarion. Philbert Ono is cited in the Acknowledgements of the English edition.
  • 2005
    • Feb. 20 - PhotoGuide Japan is mentioned in a business article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper in Hawaii.
    • April-Aug. - Hiroshima-Nagasaki Photo Exhibition in Genova, Italy is held at the Palazzo Ducale by the city of Genova as part of a large art exhibition. Philbert is co-curator of the photo exhibition.
    • June - Photo book and exhibition catalog, Yosuke Yamahata NAGASAKI is published with the collaboration of Philbert.
    • Sept. 6 - Invited to give a slide show of Japanese festivals at the Annantalo Arts Centre in Helsinki, Finland.
    • Sept. 9-18 - The Kuusamo Nature Photo Festival is held in Kuusamo, Finland. Philbert is invited to give three slide shows featuring works by well-known Japanese nature photographers.
    • Nov. 21 - Dec. 4 - Small photo exhibition titled "Lake Biwa Boating Song" is held at Shiga Kaikan in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture. It is featured in the local Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
  • 2009
    • Feb 1 - PhotoGuide Japan ( is selected by Japanzine magazine as one of the "Best of Japan On the Web 2009" sites under the Photo Gallery category.
    • Feb. 24 - Started a new blog called Shiga News to cover major news of Shiga Prefecture, Japan and site updates for
    • Aug. - The number of Japan photos online at PHOTOGUIDE.JP reaches 30,000.