Eikoh Hosoe is a contemporary Japanese photographer who explores macabre aspects of human psychology. Often depicting seppuku fantasies and erotic images of the male body, his models included the famed author Yukio Mishima. “To me photography can be simultaneously both a record and a mirror or window of self-expression,” the artist said. “The camera is generally assumed to be unable to depict that which is not visible to the eye and yet, the photographer who wields it well can depict what lies unseen in his memory.” Born on March 18, 1933 in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, he grew up amidst the devastation wrought by World War II. Hosoe went on to study at the Tokyo College of Photography where he met the avant-garde artist “/artists/ei-q/”>Ei-Q. In 1969, Hosoe’s most acclaimed series of photographs was published in his book Kamaitachi. The subject of the book references a folktale about a supernatural weasel which slices off human skin with sickle-like claws and teeth. In 2010, Hosoe was awarded the title of Japanese Person of Cultural Merit. He currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Today, his photographs are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Born in Tokyo in 1938, Masatoshi Naito graduated from Waseda University in applied sciences and trained as a research scientist. A keen interest in the folkloric traditions of Japan led him to pursue a career in photography. His work on the ethnological customs of the region of Tohoku became the focus of his seminal 70’s series: Ba Ba Bakuhatsu (Grandma Explosion).
Early on in his career, Naito photographed the mummies of Buddhist priests who had died fasting for the salvation of starving farmers in Dewa Sanzan and then started making photographs that focused on the folk religions and ethnology of Tohoku. In this body of work (1968-1970), Naito portrays female shamans “Itako” who invoke the spirits of the dead. Female Shamanism used to be a widespread phenomenon within Japan, today it is limited to this region where the more esoteric sides of Eastern religion are still practiced. These female shamans photographed starkly by Masatoshi Naito are celebrating death. They mourn the dead by performing rituals and dancing all night to evoke the spirits of the deceased. These women are exuberant and celebrate death not life. Naito pays homage to this time-old tradition with his bright flash, graphically illuminating the characters he depicts. As Naito observed: “The vitality of women comes from the earth. They embrace everything like goddesses and the title Ba Ba Bakuhatsu (Grandma Explosion) came to my mind naturally.”
Shoji Ueda was born in 1913, in Sakai-machi, Saihaku-gun (now Sakaiminato) in Tottori Prefecture.
In 1925, he entered the Yonago prefectural junior high school, where, during his third year, he immersed himself in photography. After graduating in 1931, he joined the Yonago Photography Circle. In 1932, he moved to Tokyo to attend the Oriental School of Photography. After graduating at the age of 19, he returned to his hometown and opened his own photo studio. In the same year he joined the Japan Photography Association (Nihon Kouga Kyoukai). Since around this time, he began to establish reputation as his photographs were repeatedly selected for publication in photography magazines and displayed in exhibitions. In 1937, he became one of the founders of the Chugoku Photographers Group (Chugoku Shashinka Shuudan) and frequently presented his work in the group’s exhibitions in Tokyo. His works such as “Four Girls Poses,” which featured group of posing people, drew wide attention.
In 1947, Ueda became a member of Ginryusha, a group of professional and amateur photographers established in postwar Tokyo. In 1949, Series My Family appeared in the magazine, the first of widely acclaimed works featuring Tottori’s beaches and sand dunes. In 1954, he won the Nika Prize, and in 1958 his works were selected by Edward Steichen for exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 1971 saw the publication of Children the Year Around, and in 1974, Series A piece of life began to appear regularly in “Camera Mainichi” magazine, which after all continued for 12-years. In 1978 and 1987, Ueda was invited to participate in the Arles Photo Festival in France. 1980 saw the opening of his My View exhibition in Tokyo, and in 1982 his work was selected for display at Germany’s Photokina Exhibition. From 1975 to 1994, Ueda taught at Kyushu Industrial University. 1993 saw a major solo exhibition in Tokyo and other exhibitions both inside and outside Japan.
In 1995, Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography was founded in Kishimoto-cho (now Houki-cho). In 1996, he was awarded a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the goverment of France. In 1998, he received the first Tottori Prefecture Prefectural Citizen Achievement Award.
Shoji Ueda died on July 4, 2000.
Issei Suda was born in Tokyo in 1940 and graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography in 1962. He worked as a freelance photographer from 1971 and taught for many years at the Osaka University of Arts. He has had over 75 solo exhibitions, mainly in Japan, and his work is featured in numerous major museum collections around the world, including SFMoMA, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The J. Paul Getty Museum. His publications include the monographs Fushi Kaden (1978), My Tokyo 100 (1979),Human Memory (1996) and Minyou Sanga (2007).
Dodo was born in Osaka in 1947.He graduated in fine arts from Kyushu Sangyo University in 1970, and started teaching at Tōkyō Shashin Senmon Gakkō (now Visual Arts College Tokyo). Two years later he started work as a teacher of photography at Ōsaka Shashin Senmon Gakkō; in 1998 he was made head of the school, by that time renamed Visual Arts College Osaka.
Dodo was present when the film director Naomi Kawase, who had first been a student of his and was later teaching at Visual Arts Senmon Gakkō, had her first baby on 24 April 2004, in Nara. This was filmed as Tarachime and Dodo photographed the event; the photographs were exhibited in Nara, Tokyo, and Locarno, and published as Haha
Dodo’s book of large-format black-and-white photographs A Radiant Land: Kii Peninsula won the PSJ’s Annual Award for 1995; his later collection of large-format colour photographs of the peninsula, A Radiant Land with Thousands of Years, was exhibited in Nara City Museum of Photography in 2000 The latter work also won him the Ina Nobuo Award in 1999.
Dodo has said that his major influences were Shōmei Tōmatsu, especially his Ryūkyū series “Pencil of the Sun”, and Yutaka Takanashi, for the way in which Takanashi’s concentration on Tokyo showed Dodo his own possibilities in Osaka. Among the photographers he admires are Robert Frank and William Klein.
Born 1899 in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Fukuda moved to Tokyo in 1919 to work at Takachiho Seisakusho (now: Olympus Corporation). Following the Great Kanto Earthquake, he moved to Osaka. In 1926, he won the Ilford Diamond Prize at the “First Japanese Photography Art Exhibition.” The following year, his attempt to establish a photography museum in Sakai (Osaka) failed, but Fukuda continued to take photography such as still life and compositions under the influence of Bauhaus aesthetics. His series “Camera Diagnostics” (published in “Asahi Camera”, 1936) was well-received, and Fukuda thus compiled “How to Photograph Women,” and other instructional books on photography. After the war, he focused on nudes, publishing “Shell of Light” (Hikari no kaigara) in 1949.
While realism became the dominant current in photography, Fukuda never gave up on his own, unique approach. In 1955, he received funding from the Canon Photo Competition to travel to Italy, and published his photographs from Italy in the next year. Books on Kyoto, Ginza and Sumidagawa followed. Since the late 1950s, Fukuda also engaged in experimental photography. In 1970, his solo exhibition “Flowers and Nudes: Fukuda Katsuji Exhibition” was held at Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi (Tokyo). Fukuda passed away in 1991, aged 92. His works are held at the Yokohama Museum of Art, the Kawasaki City Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art and others.
In this project, I try to express “children’s world” more realistically and more positively than Ray Bradbury’s short story “The World the Children Made”, by narrowing down the subject to children from main project “Something Here”.
When I looked their world the children of today show from time to time, I have remembered that I learned about an individual and society in there, and that “time” and that “smell” were certainly over there too. I think this time retrace own past, in other words, it may be replaced with “Save” in today’s society.
At that time, I strongly feel that I want to regain their world in the place to be, it has been removed from contemporary society and it has been rebuild in the virtual/cyber space, and it’s an essential element to form the city space that can coexist with natural environments.
Shin Noguchi is an award winning street photographer based in Kamakura and Tokyo, Japan. He describes his street photography as an attempt to capture extraordinary moments of excitement, beauty and humanism, among the flow of everyday life and has a discreet, poetic and enigmatic approach that is sensitive to the subtleties and complexities of Japanese culture without using posed/staged and no-finder/hip shot.
“Street photography always projects the “truth”. The “truth” that I talk about isn’t necessarily that I can see, but they also exist in society, in street, in people’s life. and I always try to capture this reality beyond my own values and viewpoint/perspective.”
He is also featured in MAP Talent, Liberation, The Independent, Leica Camera and many others, and you can find one of his photos on the back cover of Prestel’s new book “100 Great Street Photographs”, and he will also join photography charity for The Hepatitis C Trust in UK in October
The son of an amateur pictorialist photographer, Yamamoto Kansuke first studied French poetry and literature in Tokyo while he experimented with creative collages and photography influenced by European Surrealism and in particular Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte and Man Ray. At the end of the 1930s, he became a member of the avant-garde artistic movement, VOU and helped establish the Nagoya Foto Avant-Garde which encouraged innovative photography. Yamamoto Kansuke pioneered a poetic and elaborate signature style that merged European-inspired Surrealist iconography with distinctly Japanese motifs and concerns. The Japanese photographer appreciated Surrealism’s anti-establishment and anti-war positions as well as its bizarre takes on the human subconscious: ‘Artwork comes out of some disobedient spirit against readymade things of society. … Pure spirit should be a proactive spirit that attracts a new generation … Rebellion against each generation and the reformation of a generation is our purpose.’ These characteristics threatened Japanese Surrealists with imprisonment while Western members of the movement strongly denied to bestow them with legitimacy. Yamamoto Kansuke nonetheless continued to create dark and complex works that reflected on freedom – often symbolized by the birdcage motif – and war as he addressed World War II with his Premonition of Genocide
Iwata Nakayama was a renowned Japanese photographer born in 1895 in Yanagawa, in Fukuoka.
His father was an inventor who held a patent of a fire extinguisher. Iwata moved to Tokyo and was educated in a private school Kyohoku-Chūgakkō. After graduating from that school, he entered Tokyo University of the Arts as a first student of its photography course. After learning artistic and commercial techniques there, he moved to the U.S. in 1918 as an overseas student of California State University, sent by Japan government. However he quit studying and began to work at a photo studio run by Tōyō Kikuchi in New York. With his practical skills, he established his own studio, Laquan Studio, in New York.
Nakayama succeeded as an artisan, and traveled around Europe with his wife Masako and his son Iwao . He stayed in Paris and he came to know Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy and their works (but he wrote that he didn’t follow their style). And he and his family went back to Japan in 1927.
He began to work as a professional photographer in Kobe and drove Japanese Avant-garde Photo Arts. He associated Ashiya Camera Kurabu and educated some his juniors. And released some works in the magazines Asahi Camera, Nihon Shashin Nenkan and so on. Furthermore, he made one of the first commercial montage photography in 1930.
In 1932, he, Yasuzō Nojima and Nobuo Ina published their monthly magazine Kōga. This magazine was a critical turning point of Japanese artistic photography. Nakayama was a pioneer of Japanese avant-garde photography and inspired many Japanese photographers through his those works.
During World War II, he couldn’t work to the full. His works became more and more abstract. The War over, he resumed his professional work and creating new artistic pieces, but in 1949, he suddenly died (at 54). It was just a few days after he was selected as a trustee of the Japanese Photography Association.
Born in a small coal-mine village in 1967, in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan, where he lived until 18. Entered college in kyoto and he studied Latin American affairs. After college performed as a club DJ, worked as a construction worker and he got a job with a cement manufacturer, worked tunnel construction sites across the country as a concrete expert. And he got a Leica and he began photographing the places he worked. After 18 years working, he quit his job and photographed countries and regions wandering around the world. He now workｓ as a freelance photographer based in Yamaguchi
“Iwase Yoshiyuki was born in 1904 in Onjuku, a fishing village on the pacific side of the Chiba peninsula, which encloses Tokyo Bay on the east. After graduating from Meiji University Law School in 1924, he took up lifelong pursuits, heading the family sake distillery and documenting the receding traditions of coastal Japan. In the late 1920’s Yoshiyuki received an early Kodak camera as a gift. Since the main livelihood of the town came from the sea he gravitated there, and soon found a passion for “the simple, even primitive beauty” of ama – girls and women who harvested seaweed, turban shells and abalone from beneath the coastal waters..”
This way of life has now completely disappeared but Yoshiyuki’s photographs provide a stunning visual testament to these fascinating women. His total output is of a very hight standard but it is his photographs of the ama divers which are truly iconic.
Born in a small coal-mine village in 1967, in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan, where he lived until 18. Entered college in kyoto and he studied Latin American affairs. After college performed as a club DJ, worked as a construction worker and he got a job with a cement manufacturer, worked tunnel construction sites across the country as a concrete expert. And he got a Leica and he began photographing the places he worked. After 18 years working, he quit his job and photographed countries and regions wandering around the world. He now workｓ as a freelance photographer based in Nagoya and Yamaguchi.
Junku Nishimura, a Tokyo-based street photographer, shoots with the Leica M5, or as he likes to describe it, he’s a “midnight boozer with Leica M5.” Junku has a distinctly retro style of shooting, which reflects his own reluctance to accept change and let go of his favorite worn in possessions. He is also a member of Ante Portas
, a group of photographers on Tumblr who post one image, one series or sequence from their lives each month.
Iwase Yoshiyuki was born in 1904 in Onjuku, a fishing village on the pacific side of the Chiba peninsula, which encloses Tokyo Bay on the east. After graduating from Meiji University Law School in 1924, he took up lifelong pursuits, heading the family sake distillery and documenting the receding traditions of coastal Japan. In the late 1920’s Yoshiyuki received an early Kodak camera as a gift. Since the main livelihood of the town came from the sea he gravitated there, and soon found a passion for “the simple, even primitive beauty” of ama – girls and women who harvested seaweed, turban shells and abalone from beneath the coastal waters..
This way of life has now completely disappeared but Yoshiyuki’s photographs provide a stunning visual testament to these fascinating women. His total output is of a very hight standard but it is his photographs of the ama divers which are truly iconic
Kishin Shinoyama’s offerings from the 1960’s not only document a decade, but are also invaluable to any survey of Tokyo photography from that period. His work reveals much about the era, depicting snapshots of the student protest movement, fashion shows, dancers, avant-garde theatre troops and of course the nude shots that would subsequently form a major motif in his oeuvre.
1960’s Japan was a politically charged place experiencing rapid economic growth under the alliance with the United States. Politics, culture, society… this was the decade when ‘possibilities’ reached a critical point as contradicting elements were forced to react with one another. The photographs emerging from the Japanese capital during this period constitute the place where this metamorphosis occurred in the most radical way, and it was in the midst of this charged atmosphere that Shinoyama was taking his photographs.
The Sixties by Kishin are a vital record of how Shinoyama rediscovered and redefined photography. This was not by using photography to critique the era, as was the case with many of his contemporaries, but by bringing a criticality to the photograph itself. Inspired by the Apollo moon landing, Shinoyama’s Death Valley photographs were arranged completely by the artist, from the models to the location of the shoot. In the photographs he positions nudes of three different races in the frontier land of the desert, and by placing foreign bodies in the form of naked human figures in the landscape, displays a classic Shinoyama technique – that of highlighting the hidden meaning in a place. His work has a fearsome, non-reflective radicalism that has continued throughout his career and that defines his imagery since the 1960’s.
Kishin Shinoyama’s work is held in private and public collections worldwide.
Ikkō Narahara is a Japanese photographer. Born in Fukuoka, Narahara studied law at Chuo University (graduating in 1954) and, influenced by statues of Buddha at Nara, art history at the graduate school of Waseda University, from which he received an MA in 1959