Kinetori Yoshi Imamura

22 September, 1945 – 21 April, 2022
Mumufied 2022

Kinetorori Mamura also known as Yoshi Imamura.

Our friend Yoshi Zen recently died of stomach cancer. He spent his last week in King College Hospital till 21 April 2022. The bereavement unit struggled to identify next of kin or family so turned to the friend contacts found on him when admitted.

He grew up in a Zen monastery. He wanted to be a ninja when he was a child, reckoning he needed to learn how to climb first. That’s how he got into mountain climbing and joined the Japanese Alpine Club. His father was a priest and mother was a phenomenal psychic. “I’ve inherited some of those traits so that I can see through the constituency of the person in one glance, but not as good as my mother who could tell even a future fate”. He was part of a national scene of amateur/semi-pro photographers and photography experimenters and was already building his own lenses in 1970’s. After a expensive divorce battle in Japan he came to Europe as “a drifter who posses nothing, a pilgrim to J.S. Bach’s organ music” ending up in England in 1980’s.

Yoshi devoted
A life times energy into
Exploration of beauty

Yoshi had many stories and told us he had taken photos for Frank Zappa when he was on tour in Japan in the 1970s. He got the job after attending one of Zappa’s gigs, taking some photos and then sending them to Zappa. Zappa was so impressed with the photos that he invited Yoshi to join for more gigs as an official photographer. The original idea of Minolta’s predictable auto focus was one of his inventions, his unique cameras and custom lenses are well known. He wrote about his research and reflections on life in a blog he kept up to date with photographs and reports.

Stone Cold fact:  He loved to dance with friends at Limehouse Town Hall, Brixton Fridge and Ministry of Sound. Dorkbot was an important part of his London life so it’s great news they are keen to support and host celebration of his life. There was so much treasure at his flat in Peckham and loft of the entire sheltered housing block were filled with production resources. We struggled at first to make space for packing up of treasures let alone move them elsewhere. We now have a collection of his drawings, sculptures, cameras, lenses and photographs to fill a museum.

Far off or up close
See value in everything
Give up on nothing

I found this classic. A tradition among Zen monks was to write a last haiku when they were about to pass out of this life to the next. This haiku by Gozan was written by him at the age of 71 in 1789.

The snow of yesterday
That fell like cherry blossoms
Is water once again

It shows the circle of life a popular belief in Zen Buddhism. It also has the metaphorical meaning of transience as well with the cherry blossoms lasting a week, and snow melting almost immediately upon touching the ground.