Shōmei Tōmatsu, a member of the VIVO collective, was one of the most influential photographers in post-war Japan. He referred to Ken Domon as a "father" but it was his own work that provided "the iconography, style and method against which younger Japanese photographers have measured their own identities." Tōmatsu was 15 in 1945, coming into his own as Japan emerged from the war, and his photographs are more confrontational with the American Occupation and the effects of the atomic bombings than Domon's. Chewing Gum and Chocolate depicts the military bases as seedy strips full of smirking soldiers, Japanese prostitutes and Coca-Cola signs. In Nagasaki 11:02, August 9, 1945 there are no laughing children and paper cranes. Instead, a beautiful woman, her face covered in keloid scars, silently stares and a bottle has been melted so grotesquely it resembles a fetus. Hip Shinjuku, Tokyo's second downtown, was blooming in a formerly seedy area: new department stores, young urbanites, student protests, bars and prostitutes, Tōmatsu documented it all.
The infamous Natori-Tōmatsu dispute in Asahi Camera helped define the new photography emerging in Japan. In the September 1960 issue of the magazine critic Watanabe Tsutomu praised the work of Tōmatsu and other contemporary photographers, using the term eizo (image) to explain their use of photography as expression, not documentation. In October photo-journalist Yōnosuke Natori responded with the essay "The Birth of a New Photography," criticizing this use of image and advocating the pre-war use of photojournalism as storytelling. He particularly criticized Tōmatsu's Occupation and Home series for "moving in a direction not restricted by time or place." Tōmatsu was unapologetic in his response in the November issue. In "I Refute Mr. Natori," he stated that he was a professional photographer, not a photojournalist, and that he had "no recollection of ever having discarded respect for a specific reality... My photographs are absolutely not photojournalism... in order to prevent the hardening of photography's arteries, I believe we should drive off the evil spirits that haunt "photojournalism" and destroy the existing concepts carried by those words."
- Shōmei Tōmatsu, I Am a King. Tokyo: Shashin Hyoronsha, 1972, cover.
- Shōmei Tōmatsu, I Am a King. Tokyo: Shashin Hyoronsha, 1972, [unpaginated].
- Nihon rettō kuronkuru: Tōmatsu no 50-nen = Traces: 50 years of Tōmatsu's works. Tokyo: Tōkyō-to Shashin Bijutsukan, 1999, p.70-71.
- Tōmatsu, Shōmei. Tōmatsu Shōmei shashinshũ 1:11-ji 02-bun Nagasaki. Tokyo: Shashinodojinsha, Shōwa 41 , [p.70-71].
- Rubinfein, Leo. Shōmei Tōmatsu : Skin of the Nation. San Francisco, California: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004, plates 29-30.