Toru Takahashi, respected AP Asia photo editor, dies at 62

Jun 6, 2022, 2:34 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 2:40 am
A former long time Associated Press photo editor Toru Takahashi talks while sitting on his desk at ...

A former long time Associated Press photo editor Toru Takahashi talks while sitting on his desk at AP Tokyo bureau, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Tokyo. Takahashi, a Tokyo-based photo editor and photographer for The Associated Press who spent his long career meticulously capturing images and sharing his wealth of knowledge with colleagues, has died. He was 62.(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

TOKYO (AP) — Toru Takahashi, a Tokyo-based photo editor and photographer for The Associated Press who spent his long career meticulously capturing images and sharing his wealth of knowledge with colleagues, has died. He was 62.

Takahashi, who was being treated for lung cancer, died Friday, just days after returning home from the hospital, according to his wife, Mieko Takahashi.

Originally from Kumamoto in southern Japan, he joined AP in Tokyo as an editorial assistant, running errands for photographers and reporters. He learned both English and photography from senior staff members, eventually receiving a job editing and taking photos.

Takahashi was known for his wry sense of humor and his relentless attention to detail, while on assignment and while preparing colleagues’ photos for publication.

“Toru was the ultimate professional on the (editing) desk, never cut corners, always told you where and when you did wrong, but always in a friendly manner,” said Mark Baker, AP’s photo editor for Australia and New Zealand. “He cared about the picture service, and he has left a legacy in the region of photographers who know how to tone and caption.”

Early in his career, Takahashi asked his boss at the time, Chikako Yatabe, to send him to cover a Formula One race in central Japan, saying the AP wouldn’t regret it.

“And just as he promised, he proved to be an excellent photojournalist at various sports events as well as general news coverage,” Yatabe said.

During his 36-year career at AP, Takahashi covered a range of major overseas events including Hong Kong’s 1997 reversion to China and the 2002 South Korean presidential election, as well as two Olympics — the Sydney Games in 2000 and Beijing Games in 2008 — and seven F-1 races, both as an editor and a photographer.

Yatabe said he inspired many of his colleagues, not just with his work ethic but also because of his wit. “Laughter surrounded him all the time.”

On a typical editing shift, Takahashi would sit hunched over the computer monitor at his desk, a beloved chocolate-covered doughnut and a cup of coffee by his side as he edited hundreds of photos filed by photographers from AP bureaus around the world.

He was also a skilled photographer.

In 2016, he captured a memorable moment after Panamanian boxer Luis Concepcion beat Japan’s Kohei Kono at a WBA world super flyweight title bout in Tokyo.

“Concepcion suddenly dashed to the corner of the ring and climbed up the ropes,” Takahashi wrote on an AP blog. “I thought he would play to the crowd a bit so I aimed my camera at him, but then he leaped from the rope and did a backflip. I didn’t expect him to show such acrobatic jubilation on the ring, but I was lucky to capture a frame that shows the contrast between the celebrating champion and his staff standing to the side, nearly emotionless.”

Takahashi decided to return home instead of remaining in the hospital.

“He texted me saying he was going to try and win the battle. And added ‘Home is comfortable.’ I wasn’t surprised of his mention of home. He spoke of his family often — most times with humor. And love,” said Yirmiyan Arthur, an AP photo editor in South Asia.

Instead of flowers, Takahashi’s children filled his coffin with some of his favorite things, including horseracing pamphlets, movies, baseball and boxing photos, and the camera bag and shoes he used on reporting trips.

They also played Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” and the theme song from his favorite samurai drama, his wife said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge...
Associated Press

Chauvin faces future in federal prison for Floyd’s death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is about to swap solitary confinement at Minnesota’s only maximum security prison for an unknown future at a federal prison where, despite his national notoriety for killing George Floyd, he’ll probably be safer. Chauvin will be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul after […]
13 hours ago
Police begin to search the seating area near the stage after two police officers were shot during t...
Associated Press

Bullets that hit police at July 4 show likely fired far away

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bullets that grazed two police officers during a Fourth of July fireworks show in Philadelphia, prompting an evacuation that sent scores of people running from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, came from the same weapon but were probably fired from “quite a distance away,” authorities said. Chief Inspector Frank Vanore of the Philadelphia […]
13 hours ago
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks before members of the state Legislature and others before signing wh...
Associated Press

Governor signs $1.2B water plan as Arizona faces cutbacks

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Wednesday that will provide $1.2 billion over three years to boost long-term water supplies for the desert state and implement conservation efforts that will see more immediate effects. The legislation that was hammered out over months during the just-completed legislative session is viewed as the most […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Bill Allen, former chief executive of VECO Corp. leaves federal court on Oct. 28, 2009 in An...
Associated Press

Bill Allen, key figure in Alaska corruption scandal, dies

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Bill Allen, a central figure in a corruption scandal that rocked Alaska politics, has died. He was 85. Allen’s death was reported by Alaska media, citing a brief death announcement on the website for a Colorado funeral home, which said Allen died on June 29. A person who answered the phone […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Copenhagen: Passenger jet safely evacuated after engine fire

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A passenger jet was evacuated at the Copenhagen airport Wednesday after a fire broke out in one of the engines, Danish police said. Everyone left the plane safely and no one was injured as firefighters put out the fire, police said on Twitter. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the plane was […]
13 hours ago
Derenda Hancock, co-director of the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic patient escorts, bet...
Associated Press

Scramble as last Mississippi abortion clinic shuts its doors

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s only abortion clinic has been buzzing with activity in the chaotic days since the U.S. Supreme Court upended abortion rights nationwide — a case that originated in this conservative Deep South state and with this bright-pink medical facility that is closing its doors Wednesday. Physicians at Jackson Women’s Health Organization […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Toru Takahashi, respected AP Asia photo editor, dies at 62