The son of Japanese immigrants to the US, Takashi Kijima moved back to Japan with his family in 1924. He studied film at Nihon University from 1939 to 1942 and studied with photographer Shōji Ueda in 1948. The realist approach of the photographer Ken Domon was an important influence. In 1953 he moved to Tokyo to work for the company Light Publicity, which he left two years later for a freelance career. As a pioneer of nude photography in Japan, his images and exhibitions captured huge public attention and met with great success alongside his commercial advertising work of the 1950s and 1960s. The main focus of his work later shifted to the depiction of traditional Japanese arts, such as the kimono, and to nature, especially flowers.