Ishimoto's many awards include winning the Young Photographer's Contest, Life magazine (1950); the photographer of the year award, Japan Photo Critics Association (1957); the Mainichi Art Award (1970); the annual award (1978, 1990) and distinguished contribution award (1991) of the Photographic Society of Japan; and governmental medals of honour (1983, 1993). In 1996 the Japanese government named Ishimoto a Man of Cultural Distinction, an honour that includes a lifelong stipend. In 2004 Ishimoto donated his archive of seven thousand images, valued at 1.4 billion yen, to the Museum of Art, Kochi. In English, Yasuhiro Ishimoto signed his name "Yas Ishimoto".
Born in San Francisco, 1921. Moved to Kochi Prefecture, Japan, with his parents, 1924. After graduating from Kochi Prefectural Agricultural High School, returned to the United States, 1939. Entered the Photography Department of the Chicago Institute of Design, 1948. Studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Graduated from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology, 1952. Moved to Japan, 1953. Married Shigeru Kawamata (real name: Shigeruko Kawamata), 1956. Traveled to the United States, staying in Chicago, 1958–1961. Returned to Japan, 1961. Obtained Japanese citizenship, 1969. Donated archive to the Museum of Art, Kochi, 2004.
Died at the age of 90 on February 6, 2012.