Symposion on Japanese Photography at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland

On occasion of the exhibition “Shomei Tomatsu – Skin of a Nation”[1]See my my earlier post about the exhibition when it started in New York. at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Museum hosts the symposium
“Photography and Lifestyle in Japan from 1945 until Today”
on Friday October 27.

Shomei Tomatsu: «Oshima Eiko, Actress in the Film Shiiku (Priz Stock)», 1961

I am invited to give a lecture on “Contemporary Japanese Photography and Lifestyle” and my talk is schedule just before the party. :-)
By the way, during the party there will be a slide show arranged by the Mariko Takeuchi, Tokyo: “20 new Japanese Photographers”
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1 See my my earlier post about the exhibition when it started in New York.

Rinko Kawauchi at Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne

It’s not the first time that I am mentioning Rinko Kawauchi in my blog, but this has a special reason.
I think it was 2003 when Markus Schaden, my local photobook dealer showed me a small photobook by a Japanese women photographer whom I had not heard of at that time. It was “Utatane” (Siesta) by Rinko Kawauchi. “Utatane” caught my attention immediately, since her photography was so much different to any photographer of her generation.”Utatane” is included in vol. 2 of “The Photobook: A History” by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger. See my previous post.

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series "Aila"), 2003

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series “Aila”), 2003


Rinko Kawauchi had her first exhibition at the end 1990s only a few years after a new – not to say the first – generation of women photographer had emerged in Japan. Before the mid-1990s, the Japanese photography scene was completely male dominated, but this changed almost over night when the first onna no ko shashinka (girly photographers) entered the scene. Those onna no ko shashinka mostly did a kind of subjective documentary photography influenced by Nan Goldin and Nobuyoshi Araki. These women, amongst them most famous Hiromix and Yurie Nagashima, talked mainly about their own lives. With their spontaneous and direct and dairy like style the young photographers opened a new narrative in the Japanese photography, but soon they reached their own limitations, because of their self centred approach on reality.

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Tomoko Sawada: Early Works

While I wrote my last post about Tomoko Sawada I became curious about her early works which I haven’t seen yet. Katsuya Ishida the owner of MEM gallery had been so kind to send me three of her early works currently exhibited at his gallery. The early works, done while Sawada was still a student at the Seian College of Art and Design, seem to be more playful than her later conceptual series, but they are already very strong in my opinion.

Tomoko Sawada: «Doll 1», 1996


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Tomoko Sawada at KPO Kirin Plaza and MEM, Osaka

This is my second post about Tomoko Sawada about whom I wrote two years ago already. Currently she has two exhibitions at KPO Gallery at Kirin PlazaKirin Plaza itself is worth a visit. The building – which gives the impression of a huge sculpture – by the architect Shin Takamtsu is a landmark building in Osaka. Scenes from the movie “Black Rain” were filmed at Kirin Plaza and at MEM gallery in Osaka (until Sept. 3).

“Masquerade” at KPO shows Tomoko Sawada in the guise of a few hundred different self-created identities. The exhibition includes the series “OMIAI” (2001), “Cover/Face” (2002) and “Recruit” (2006). A new book by Sawada with the title of the exhibition “Masquerade” is due to be published soon. In conjunction with the exhibition at Kirin Plaza, MEM gallery exhibits “Early Works” from 1996/97 which have not been shown to the public before.
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Rinko Kawauchi: Interview at PingMag/ exhibition in Milan

10 questions to Rinko Kawauchi about photography
Recently I wrote a short notice about Rinko Kawauchi’s latest publication “Rinko Diary“. For those who want to read a little bit more about her work, the online magazine PingMag from Tokyo has an interesting interview with Rinko on occasion of her recent exhibition at Photographer’s Gallery, London.


Rinko Kawauchi, one of Japan’s most popular female photographers today, created a sensation across the contemporary photography world in 2001 when she simultaneously released three critically acclaimed photography books: Utatane, Hanabi and Hanako and won the 27th Kimura Ihei Photography Award. Rinko’s publications have continued to amaze the photography world with three more books: Aila, the eyes the ears and Cuicui. She won not only the hearts of the young generation in Japan, but Rinko Kawauchi is said do be the next upcoming photographer – even in London. Being a great fan of Rinko’s work, I jumped on the opportunity to talk to her during her exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery in London
[Quote: PingMag]

Rinko Kawauchi: The eyes, the ears, 2005 - cover photo

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Yonosuke Natori and Nippon Studio, Kawasaki City Museum

If you happen to be in Tokyo area I would highly recommend a side trip to the Kawaski City Museum to see the exhibition about “Yônosuke Natori and Nippon Studio (1931-1945)”The English translation of the Japanese exhibition title (on the exhibition poster or at Tokyo Art Beat for example) is only half done. The full English translation would be “Yônosuke Natori and Japan Studio”. (until Sept. 3).

Yonosuke Natori and Nippon Kobo

Yônosuke Natori (1910-62) was a professional photographer, founder of “Nippon Studio” (“Nippon Kôbô” in Japanese) and publisher of the international, multilanguage magazine “Nippon” (Japan). With his studio and the magazine Yonosuke Natori introduced to Japan cutting-edge photographic techniques and design that he studied in Germany.[1]As far as I know there is not much information available on Natori outside Japan. There is some basic information published on Natori, his studio and “Nippon” in The History of Japanese … Continue reading

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1 As far as I know there is not much information available on Natori outside Japan. There is some basic information published on Natori, his studio and “Nippon” in The History of Japanese Photography.

Daido Moriyama at Foam, Amsterdam

Daido Moriyama is currently exhibited at Foam (Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, until August 23).

Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog, Misawa, 1971

Those who are a little bit into Japanese photography will know his work. Daido Moriyama is one of the most important photographers of the 20th century and IMHO his book “Farwell Photography” (1972) is more radical than any western photography book of the beginning 1970s. At the moment I am waiting for a new reprint of “Farwell Photography” and I will write more about it after it has arrived from Japan.

Daido Moriyama: Japans Scenic Trio - Mutsumatsushima, 1974

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Naoya Hatakeyama at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

In 2003 the “Regionale 2004” a project by North Rhine-Westphalia (a federal state in West Germany) commissioned Naoya Hatakeyama to document the defunct coal mine “Zeche Westfalen I/II Ahlen”.

Naoya Hatakeyama: Zeche Westfalen I/II Ahlen

From October 2003 to February 2004 Hatakeyama photographed the sites and structures that were home to tens of thousands of workers for over a century. The series, which I have not seen yet, neither on the wall nor in the book with the same name published just recently by Nazraeli Press, is on display at Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo.

It seems that Hatakeyam kind of returned with the following series to a topic with which he ‘blasted’ into the Japanese photo scene in 1995, literally.
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Moriyama – Shinjuku – Araki

Today is the last day of the exhibition Moriyama • Shinjuku • Araki at Tokyo City Opera Art Gallery. I wanted to write about it much earlier and I contacted the gallery for some more images and information since the website on the exhibition is still not finished yet. Unfortunately I haven’t received an answer and now I am a little bit late.

Moriyama - Shinjuku - Araki (exhibiton poster)

Anyway the information is not completely outdated since there is an accompanying book published, available at

Exhibition and book concentrate on one prominent place in Japan: Shinjuku, an entertainment, business and shopping area in Tokyo with the largest red light district, Kabukicho, in Japan. Both artists photographed in this district from the 1960s until today.
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Miyako Ishiuchi at Venice Biennale and at Third Gallery Aya, Osaka

Miyako Ishiuchi: Mother, 2002

Well-respected female photographer, Miyako Ishiuchi, who was selected by Commissioner Michiko Kasahara to represent Japan at the Venice Biennale this year, has revealed her plans for the show.
Ishiuchi will present her new “Mother’s” series, a group of photographs documenting her mother, an apparently stong-willed woman who lived through tumultuous times stretching from life in colonial Manchuria in the 1930s to wartime Japan where she worked as a truck driver. Ishiuchi’s tribute will start with a photograph of her mother, but will consist mostly of “portraits” of her clothing and possessions: chemises, combs and other personal effects. It promises to be a deeply personal, unassuming installation.
(source: Japanese Art Scene Monitor )

The series “Mother” is exhibited at Third Gallery Aya (Jp.) in Osaka from today on until February 19. Third Gallery Aya is a very good place IMHO which had a lot of interesting shows over the years.
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