Kimbei Kusakabe arrived in Yokohama in 1856 and became Felice Beato’s pupil, hand-coloring his photographs until 1863. In 1881, he opens his own studio and promptly becomes one of the most prosperous and influential photographers of his generation, rivaling the Western artists that had until then dominated the market. With his colored portraits, everyday scenes and landscapes, he is the purveyor of souvenir images for Westerners visiting Japan. Kimbei Kusakabe depicted men in serene social and economic contexts while women - his favorite subjects - were represented in romantic portraits as well as domestic and cultural scenes. The young mysterious and submissive geisha was particularly appealing to Western audiences and the Japanese photographer helped establish their visual identity as icons of feminine beauty and social etiquette. Kimbei Kusakabe’s rare images are a rich resource for the comprehension of a Japan that has now disappeared.