Chubu Photo Studio changes hands to new generation in hope of keeping Koza landmark present “for another 50 years”

Chubu Photo Studio changes hands to new generation in hope of keeping Koza landmark present “for another 50 years”

Yoshinobu Kuba (left) holding a film photograph of his mother, and Yutaka Tokeshi (right) holding a digital photograph of him and his family. February 6, Chubu Shashinkan in central Okinawa

February 20, 2022 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Takahiro Kina


Okinawa City – On February 6 in central Okinawa, Chubu Shashinkan (Chubu Photo Studio) had a passing of the torch ceremony, with Yutaka Tokeshi, 22, officially taking over the store from its previous owner, Yoshinobu Kuba, 79. The photo studio, which is on Palmyra Street in Koza, opened in 1971 in what was then called Hinode Street, and for half a century has been photographing things like town festivals and people’s special commemorative occasions.

The Chubu Shashinkan had also been the photographer for the Okinawa tourism goodwill ambassador “Miss Hibiscus” event since 1975, but this generation of photography has moved from film to digital photography and smartphones.

When it came to their 50th anniversary last year, usually an auspicious milestone, they had decided to close.

Then, while taking apart one of their old machines in front of the store, Tokeshi happened to be walking by and struck up a conversation, forming a new friendship.

“It would be a waste for this photo studio, which has been rooted here as Koza changed around it, to go away,” said Tokeshi, who decided to take over the studio.

Kuba, who invited friends to the passing of the torch ceremony, gave words of encouragement, saying, “I am thankful the store name will stay. I am also relieved that Tokeshi will continue on with the store. I hope he will do his best for the next 50 years.”

Tokeshi said of his aspirations, “I want to make use of both film and digital to meet the needs of our customers. I want to capture lasting memories of the customers who come to Koza.”

The reopening is scheduled for March 6. Business hours will be 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There are no planned days off. The address is Okinawa City Chuo 1-17-18. For inquiries call (Tel.) 080 (3189) 6785.


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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