In a career stretching back to 1940, Tsuneko Sasamoto, considered the nation's first female photojournalist, bore witness to Japan's dramatic shift from a totalitarian regime to an economic superpower.

Her subjects have ranged from impoverished citizens scratching out a living in the lean postwar years, to student protesters and striking coal miners as the country was taking off economically in the politically tumultuous 1960s.

She has profiled independent-minded women born in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) who struggled against entrenched sexism to find their own voices as novelists, social activists and actresses.