Japanese photographer Teruyoshi Hayashida (林田照慶), who created legendary photo book “Take Ivy” as well as follow-ups “The Ivy” and “Take 8 Ivy,” died on August 8 after a battle with cancer. He was just 15 days shy of his 83rd birthday.
Hayashida was born in Tokyo in 1930, studying political economics at Meiji University. After graduation, he taught himself how to use a camera, and soon became a freelance photographer, most famously for Japan’s first men’s fashion magazines Danshi Senka and Men’s Club. Through the latter, Hayashida became close friends with Kensuke Ishizu of VAN Jacket and shot nearly all of the VAN fashion spreads in Men’s Club during the early 1960s.
When VAN employees Shōsuke Ishizu, Toshiyuki Kurosu, and Paul Hasegawa planned to shoot a short film of the Ivy League campuses in the Spring of 1965, Men’s Club begged them to also bring along a photographer to take promotional stills. Hayashida was the obvious choice, and the assignment gave him his first chance to visit the US. Hayashida was allowed to take any photos he wanted as long as he did not get in the way of the film crew. After returning back to Japan and developing the hundreds of photos, Men’s Club editor Toyoho Nishida knew they had great work on their hands and convinced VAN to let publisher Fujingaho release a separate book of Hayashida’s work to accompany the film. Both works debuted under the title Take Ivy in August 1965. While the film essentially disappeared from public view, Hayashida’s book lived on, becoming a style bible for each new generation of Ivy fans in Japan, and later, in the United States as well.
Hayashida’s legend in Japan became inextricably tied to the Ivy League campuses, and he returned multiple times throughout the 1970s and 1980s with different publications to photograph those particular eight East Coast locations. As he got older, his interest in the Ivy League broadened from the student fashion to a veneration of the traditional architecture. His 1983 work The Ivy focuses on the universities’ ivy-covered brick and stone buildings with nearly no people in sight.
With the powerHouse’s English release of “Take Ivy” in 2010, T. Hayashida’s work inspired an even larger audience than before, most of whom were not even born when the book came out. Back in 1965, during the very early days of overseas travel for Japanese nationals, Hayashida and the young VAN employees were very lucky to have a chance to visit the United States, the land of their beloved Ivy style. For this Ivy cult centered around VAN and Men’s Club, the Take Ivy trip was pilgrimage to Mecca, and Hayashida’s deep reverence for the students transforms what could have just been cursory snaps of the lazy days at the end of the school year into enduring cultural artifacts. Through his viewfinder, Hayashida saw something magical in what an American at the time would have most likely dismissed as commonplace. And thanks to his work, a visual documentation of the era’s style — the last throes of Ivy style before the countercultural wave of the late Sixties — will live on forever.