Book: The History of Japanese Photography

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Philbert Ono's book review of The History of Japanese Photography (edited by Anne Wilkes Tucker, others). The most comprehensive book ever published on Japanese photographic history in English. Also served as the exhibition catalog for the The History of Japanese Photography exhibition held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in spring 2003.

日本写真史の全般(1848年~2000年)を英語で紹介する空前の大規模な本。2003年の春に米国テキサス州のヒューストン美術館で開催された「日本写真史展」の図録でもあります。

The History of Japanese Photography

Reviewed on: 2003-09-02 Last modified: 2004-12-19

Published: 2003-03 Publisher: Yale Univ. Press ISBN: 0300099258 Price in Japan: ¥6,830 Qualities: Hard cover, color photos Size: A4 oversize, 512 pp. Language: English

Regretfully, I was unable to fly to Texas to see the huge The History of Japanese Photography exhibition held earlier this year (Mar. 2–Apr. 27, 2003) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I can only find solace in thumbing through this big exhibition catalog that is also an unprecedented book on Japanese photographic history in English. It's a shame that after Houston, the exhibition did not travel beyond the Cleveland Museum of Art (May 25-July 20).

This heavy book (2.8 kg or 6 lbs.) discusses Japanese photography from 1848 to 2000. It is profusely illustrated with 356 images (more than what was displayed at the exhibition). Most of the images are sepia-toned or B/W and few are actually in full color. The book is organized into several unnumbered chapters and it includes an excellent appendix section.

The book and exhibition were a six-year collaborative effort of curators, researchers, and scholars in Japan and the US supported by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Japan Foundation. The book and exhibition were headed by Anne Wilkes Tucker, a well-known photography curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She was joined by Dana Friis-Hansen (chief curator at the Austin Museum of Art), KANEKO Ryuichi (guest curator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography), and TAKEBA Joe (curator at the Nagoya City Art Museum). IIZAWA Kotaro (photo historian and critic) and KINOSHITA Naoyuki (Univ. of Tokyo assistant professor) also contributed to the book.

The seed for this huge project was planted in 1995 when the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography invited Ms. Tucker to be a juror for The 1st Tokyo International Photo-Bienniale, an international photo contest. Seeing the works of Japanese photographers exhibited at the museum and other galleries piqued her interest in Japanese photography, but she was sorry that the works were pretty much unknown in the West.

It's appalling that even renown photography curators like her knew little about Japanese photography even as recent as 1995 when Japanese photography was already well developed and full of vitality (especially among the younger set).

I remember in 1997 during a panel discussion at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography's 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Bienniale, Sandra S. Phillips, the invited photography curator from the San Francisco Museum of Art, was asked what she thought about Japanese photographers. She admitted that she didn't know enough to make a comment.

It's typical, and I can tell you there are many other photography curators around the world who still have a blind spot for Japanese photography. I don't think they are purposely ignoring Japan. They just never thought about looking into Japan or they subconsciously avoid the unknown. (If Japanese photography has such a hard time gaining international recognition, think about other Asian countries like Korea, China, Thailand, and the Philippines. It's even worse for them.)

Anyway, Ms. Tucker did something about her blind spot and got the ball rolling. In 1996, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Japan Foundation formed a collaborative team of curators and other staff. The curators traveled widely in Japan, the US, and Europe visiting over 60 museums and archives. They worked with numerous galleries and libraries and interviewed countless photographers.

The acknowledgements page has a very long list of people and institutions in Japan, the US, and Europe who provided assistance. It tells you how big this project was.

And the result? It's like a dream come true. We simply have never seen such a large-scale book (and exhibition) in English about Japanese photography before.

Although a lot of information on US and European photography make their way into Japan (via the many Japanese writers and critics), very little info on Japanese photography ever goes out of Japan for the overseas market. This book may help lessen Japan's information trade imbalance in photographic art and history.

However, don't let this book's sheer size, attractive design, and authoritative air fool you into thinking that it tells you everything about Japanese photography history. Japanese photography is simply too big and broad to be encapsulated in any single book (or Web site). As I shall point out below, the book has major omissions with regard to Japanese photographers and key developments in Japanese photography.

The chapters and plates

The book's main text is divided into seven chapters, each one written by one of the curators or contributors. The hardcore chapters on Japanese photography history are all written by Japanese authors and translated into English. The text was generally intended to chronicle how Japanese photography developed over the years within the context of Japan's historical and cultural developments and how photography in turn affected Japanese society.

Ms. Tucker writes only the book's Introduction, which I will call the first chapter. (There are no chapter numbers.) This chapter tells me that she has learned much about Japanese photography since that fateful trip to Tokyo in 1995. She has effectively eliminated her blind spot on Japan and hopefully this book will do the same for other curators.

She summarizes about how Japanese photography has been introduced to the West through books and exhibitions. She also mentions a few books on Japanese photography history that have been published. However, she fails to mention Terry Bennett's important | Japan: Caught in Time and | Early Japanese Images (even though they are listed in the bibliography). Both books, published in the mid-1990s, were the most comprehensive English introduction to early Japanese photography ever published at the time.

She then gives a general overview of Japanese photography history while often making comparisons with Western photographers.

The next chapter, The Early Years of Japanese Photography, written by KINOSHITA Naoyuki, covers the first 50 years of photography in Japan from 1848 when the country's first daguerreotype camera was imported from Holland. (Some Japanese books on Japanese photography history start the chronology from 1646 when the camera obscura was first imported.)

"Japanese photography" is defined in this chapter as photographs taken in Japan, not necessarily only by the Japanese since the first images were captured by foreigners who came to Japan after the country opened up to the West in 1859. These early foreigners taught photography to the first generation of Japanese who in turn taught the craft to the second generation of Japanese by which time most foreign photographers left Japan as the natives took over the profession by the turn of the century.

The subjects photographed also evolved--from samurai portraits and stereotypical customs and manners to landscapes and news photos. Among the major historical periods of Japanese photography, this early period has attracted the most publishing attention. (This chapter is also the book's largest with 86 pages.) It was during a period of great change and upheaval as Japan transformed from a closed, feudal society to a modern, international state.

The two most important first-generation Japanese photographers were Nagasaki-based UENO Hikoma and Yokohama-based SHIMOOKA Renjo. And the most important foreign photographers were Felix/Felice Beato and | Baron Raimund von Stillfried Rathenitz.

One interesting anecdote Kinoshita gives is how the Japanese word for photograph evolved to become shashin (a copy of the truth, or 写真) instead of the more literal translation, koga (light picture, or 光画). He says that the word shashin was actually used when photography was first introduced to Japan, but it referred to paintings that were realistic reproductions of actual things.

The camera obscura was called shashinkyo (mirror to copy the truth, or 写真鏡). The daguerreotype was called in'eikyo (mirror that prints the human figure, or 印影鏡). There were also other translations for daguerreotype such as chokusha-eikyo (mirror that directly copies the human figure, or 直写影鏡) and inshokyo (mirror that prints an image, or 印象鏡).

Then sometime in the 1860s, the translation for photography settled on shashin. Interesting indeed. (The book does not include any Japanese kanji characters, although it laboriously inserts macrons over the long vowel sounds.)

This chapter contains the most photos of all the chapters. However, I think too many are from Hokkaido. A few are kind of useless as well (for explaining Japanese photography). I wish they included ESAKI Reiji's famous photo of the Sumida River explosion (since it is mentioned at least twice) that made him the premier "action" photographer, more samples of stereotypical Japanese customs and manners ("Yokohama photographs" or fuzoku shashin), nudes (there are none), and hand-painted postcards.

But there are a few gems such as UCHIDA Kuichi's first portrait of Emperor Meiji sitting in his traditional robes topped by a very tall kammuri cap (how did they get it to stand straight up like that?), ESAKI Reiji's collage of thousands of babies, and the now iconic portrait of the legendary SAKAMOTO Ryoma by UENO Hikoma.

Many of the photographs have an interesting story behind them, so I wish they included such anecdotes in the photo captions besides just the title, date, and photographer. It would have made the book much more interesting. Of course, that would have entailed a lot more research and translation, but well worth it I think.

I was dismayed by the glaring omission of photos by Felix Beato and Baron Stillfried, two of the most important early foreign photographers. For some reason, their photographs were not even included in the exhibition. Absolutely inexcusable! The book talks about them and yet no photographs shown! (Except for one tiny footnote photo by Beato in the book's left margin.) No grand exhibition on early Japanese photography can exclude these two historical figures who are very much part of "Japanese photography" as defined by Kinoshita early in this chapter.

The third chapter, called The Origins and Development of Japanese Art Photography and written by KANEKO Ryuichi, mainly covers the development of art photography and the pictorialist movement at the turn of the century up to the 1930s. Kaneko notes that pictorialism in Japanese photography centered on landscapes unlike Western pictorialism which featured a wide variety of themes.

This period also saw photography fall into the hands of the masses as photographic technologies advanced enough to enable anyone to easily take pictures (especially with the Vest Pocket Kodak camera introduced to Japan around 1915). Photo magazines and camera clubs also formed, and exhibitions and photo contests were held.

There was endless debate over what art photography should and could be. Finally, it was FUKUHARA Shinzo who advocated that instead of trying to imitate paintings (using soft focus, pigmented printing, etc.), photography should be considered as an independent art form. Fukuhara went on to found his own pictorialist style and photo club (while running the family business, a cosmetics company called Shiseido). He, along with his brother Roso, was one of the key figures of this period.

I find it ironic that even at this early stage, photography was widely recognized as an art form in Japan. Yet, it took many years thereafter until major Japanese art museums started (from the late 1980s) to collect photographs as works of art.

The chapter includes fine examples of pictorialist images mostly produced in the 1920s and '30s.

The fourth chapter is called The Age of Modernism: From Visualization to Socialization, written by TAKEBA Joe. It covers the period from 1924 to the end of World War II in 1945. It discusses the break away from pictorialism and an inclination toward photographic experimentation involving realism, surrealism, and avant-garde.

Japanese photographers in those days were greatly influenced by overseas artists such as Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. It was a very creative and playful period when NAKAYAMA Iwata created his photograms, NOJIMA Yasuzo shot beefy nudes, KIMURA Ihei took snapshots of daily life in Tokyo, and YAMAMOTO Kansuke delved into surrealism. The results were splendid.

The plates accompanying this chapter mainly show photomontages, photograms, collages, surreal images, and other abstract photographic art works. Although three nice images of women by Nojima are shown, none are nude which he is most famous for. He is often called Japan's first photographer of nudes, so his nudes should have been included. I heard that his prints are almost impossible to come by in today's art market, and even if you do find one, the price is stratospheric.

The fifth chapter is Realism and Propaganda: The Photographer's Eye Trained on Society by KANEKO Ryuichi. This is about the emergence of news and documentary photography driven by advanced printing technologies that brought news to the masses. Magazines such as Asahi Graph (launched in 1924), Nippon (1934), and the propagandist Front (1942) carried illustrated news stories.

Japan's militaristic government and policies also applied heavy-handed restrictions on photographers and photo magazines while disseminating wartime propaganda. Big-name documentary photographers active during this period included KIMURA Ihei, HAMAYA Hiroshi, Domon Ken, KUWABARA Kineo, and NATORI Yonosuke. These photographers also remained active in the postwar years. The chapter ends with panoramic photos of Hiroshima taken by HAYASHI Shigeo in Sept. 1945 showing a flattened city in ruins.

The sixth and second largest chapter (52 pages), The Evolution of Postwar Photography by photo critic IIZAWA Kohtaro, gets closer to home as many of the photographers mentioned are still alive today. The postwar recovery for photography was quick as photo magazines like Camera and Asahi Camera resumed publication and new ones like Nippon Camera and Camera Mainichi were started. They were the media fueling the photorealism movement in the 1950s.

Iizawa says that the true beginning of postwar photography started around 1950 when Domon Ken was hired by Camera magazine editor KUWABARA Kineo to be the judge for the magazine's monthly photo contest. Through the magazine, Domon advocated that a photograph must be purely objective without containing any subjective idea or feeling of the photographer. And the subject or scene cannot be staged by the photographer. The realism movement waned after 1954 as subjective photography came to fore.

One unique photographer since the 1930s was UEDA Shoji who was pretty much distant from any movement and developed his own style of staged shots (portraits on the Tottori sand dunes where Domon also posed for him once).

Other important photographers who appeared during this period include HAYASHI Tadahiko, NAGANO Shigeichi, TOMATSU Shomei, NARAHARA Ikko, ISHIMOTO Yasuhiro, and Hosoe Eikoh.

In the 1960s, commercial photography took off along with Japan's high economic growth, and young talent like Shinoyama Kishin, TATSUKI Yoshihiro, and YOKOSUKA Noriaki became prominent.

The Vietnam War also attracted front-line photographers such as Pulitzer Prize winner SAWADA Kyoichi, SAKAI Toshio, and ISHIKAWA Bunyo.

The chapter closes with a section called The Discovery of "Self" explaining the works of GOCHO Shigeo (Self and Others, 1977), Araki Nobuyoshi (Sentimental Journey, 1971), and FUKASE Masahisa (Yoko, 1978).

Many of the plates in this chapter are frequently-published trademark images such as HAYASHI Tadahiko's Dazai Osamu (1946), HAMAYA Hiroshi's Woman planting rice (1955), TOKIWA Toyoko's Prostitute, Yokohama (1955), OTSUJI Kiyoji's Object, Atelier of Abe Nobuya, Tokyo (1953), HOSOE Eikoh's Ordeal by Roses, No. 32 (1961), TOMATSU Shomei's Beer bottle after the atomic-bomb explosion (1961), MORIYAMA Daido's Stray Dog (1971), Araki Nobuyoshi's Sentimental Journey (1971), and FUKASE Masahisa's Ravens (1977).

The final chapter with a mouthful of a title is Internationalization, Individualism, and the Institutionalization of Photography written by Dana Friis-Hansen covering the years 1980-2000. It's puzzling that Iizawa was not the one to write this chapter since he lived this period in Japan and always writes about it in Japanese books and magazines. I think he should've written this chapter instead of the preceding one about postwar Japanese photography because he was born in the 1950s and was not yet old enough to live through or remember the first two postwar decades of photography.

However, I think Friis-Hansen's writing style is superior to the Japanese writers'. After giving a detailed Japanese history of the 20 years to provide some context, he gives short and snappy summaries of the noted photographers one after the another systematically and coherently. So his writing is easy to follow unlike that of the Japanese writers who tend to jump back and forth in time and between people, making it hard to follow. And thankfully, he also minimizes comparisons with Western photographers.

He talks about SHIBATA Toshio, HATAKEYAMA Naoya, KANEMURA Osamu, MIYAMOTO Ryuji, SATOH Tokihiro, HOMMA Takashi, HIRAKAWA Noritoshi, YANAGI Miwa, HIROMIX, NINAGAWA Mika, Nagashima Yurie, ISHIUCHI Miyako, KON Michiko, MORIMURA Yasumasa, YONEDA Tomoko, SUZUKI Risaku, and SUGIMOTO Hiroshi. Their photos are also shown among the 27 plates inserted in the chapter.

The "Institutionalization of Photography" refers to how art museums in Japan started in the late 1980s to establish photography departments for collecting photographs and how private and public photography museums came to being.

The bulk of this chapter is devoted to explaining about the photographers featured in the exhibition for this period. This is an exhibition catalog, after all, but I wish it also covered the pop-culture aspects of this period such as the rise of weekly photo scandal magazines like Focus and Friday, the lifting of the pubic hair ban in magazines and photo books, the phenomenal Print Club photo sticker fad (which continues to evolve as young women pose nude in those photo booths), and the huge popularity of camera phones (ushering in the demise of the once-popular disposable cameras) which appeared in 2001. Photography is very much part of pop culture, and omitting this aspect is not a good thing.

The author also gives only a quick mention of very important photography-related technologies that deserve at least a few paragraphs. They include single-use (disposable) cameras, digital cameras, image-editing with a computer, and the Internet.

The fun aspects of this period have thus been largely ignored in this chapter. But we have to remind ourselves that this book is foremost an exhibition catalog for the Japanese photographers appearing in the exhibition. Everything else is extra work.

The book does not give any label to this 1980-2000 period. It might be too recent to give this photographic period a name, but I wouldn't call it the age of the internationalization of Japanese photography.

The "internationalization" of photography that the author refers to includes photo exhibitions in Japan showing overseas artists (usually big names like Mapplethorpe, Capa, and Man Ray) and Japanese artists going overseas to study or exhibit. But that's only on a superficial level.

The truth is, Japanese photography still has a long, long way to go in the realm of internationalization. However way you look at it, it always seems to boil down to the thick language barrier.

For example, few Japanese photo books are translated into a foreign language (read: English), and fewer are actually published or distributed outside Japan. It's sad to think that all these great images, themes, knowledge, and information created and/or authored by Japanese photographers will forever be confined to Japan, never to be shared in other countries.

The same goes for exhibition catalogs. Despite their high quality, most art exhibition catalogs don't ever see the light of day outside Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography produces beautiful photo exhibition catalogs translated into English at great expense. But you can't get them unless you go to the museum. They don't offer any mail order service either, not even within Japan. A few major art museums do offer a mail order service, but they won't ship overseas. There's some kind of allergy in Japan toward cross-border e-commerce.

That's too bad because we do have the infrastructure (the Internet and post office) for selling and shipping photo books and exhibition catalogs to overseas customers.

It's disappointing that Japanese photo museums/galleries and photographers have been very slow to embrace the Internet, much less using it to reach an international audience. It provides so much potential, yet people are not taking advantage of it.

Can you believe that as of this writing (Sept. 2003), the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography still does not have an English version of their Web site? This is a museum that should be taking the lead role in promoting Japanese photography internationally.

Such lack of information in English (and other foreign languages) has other repercussions such as:

  • Photography curators overseas who want to include Japanese photographers in exhibitions or writers/publishers who want to publish photos by Japanese photographers have a hard time finding out the photographer's or copyright owner's contact info.
  • Foreign photographers who want to have an exhibition in Japan have a very difficult time finding an appropriate gallery and executing the exhibition.
  • Overseas collectors and photo book buyers remain in the dark about Japanese photographers, so they don't buy their prints and books (i.e., lost income for the photographers). Many photographers well-known in Japan will forever remain obscure overseas.
  • Without a convenient English guide to photo exhibitions in Japan, foreign visitors and residents have difficulty finding out who's showing what and where.
  • Professional photographers' associations in Japan have almost no foreign photographers among their members even though they might have an "international" department. Having foreign members would help increase cross-border information exchanges.

Due to the language barrier, Japanese photography is at a severe disadvantage when it comes to internationalization and world recognition. It is one of the great ironies when you think about how Japanese camera equipment is world-renown. And there's no lack of information in foreign languages about Japanese camera equipment. So the language barrier is really not a valid excuse.

Japanese book publishers and distributors, photography museums and galleries, photographers' associations, photo schools, art/cultural foundations, and the Cultural Affairs Agency in Japan should all get together and make a coordinated and concerted effort to promote Japanese photography overseas. Photography is already on the bottom rung of the art world compared to painting and sculpture, so it requires much more to promote it. Will this ever happen? I doubt it, but I can dream can't I?

The appendices

Finally we reach the book's appendices. They occupy almost 100 pages of this 405-page book so it's a major (and marvelous) section.

FIrst is the Exhibition Checklist listing the 207 items that were displayed at the exhibition. By far, the early photography category had the most with 65 items (minus any Beato and Stillfried), followed by postwar photography with 42 items.

It's interesting to note that they did not exhibit any prints by HIROMIX, Nagashima Yurie, and NINAGAWA Mika. They only displayed three of their photo books which I think was appropriate. The book displayed for Hiromix was [HIROMIX | Hiromix], published by Steidl in Germany. This was not the book she won the Kimura Ihee Award for. (That was Hiromix Works.) Whereas the books displayed for Nagashima ([Nagashima Yurie | Pastime Paradise]) and Ninagawa ([NINAGAWA Mika | Sugar and Spice]) were the reasons for their joint winning of the award. (The Kimura Ihee Award is one of Japan's most prestigious awards for photography, and these three women won it jointly in 2000.)

Araki's contribution was his poignant Sentimental Journey photos, one of IIZAWA Kotaro's all-time favorites (he has written much about this photo book in Japanese). No nude women in bondage this time.

Next is a wonderful Chronology of Japanese photographic history spanning from 1848 to 2000. I say wonderful because it is entirely in English. (In Japanese photography, anything in decent English is wonderful.) This was translated from the chronology compiled by ISHII Ayako and IIZAWA Kotaro in [Book:_Japanese_Photo_History_Summary | Nihon Shashin-shi Gaisetsu (Japanese Photography History Summary)] published in 1999 by Iwanami Shoten. I have this book and I've been meaning to pore over it to beef up my PhotoHistory page, but never got around to it. When I do get around to it though, this English translation of the chronology will help a lot.

The chronology itself is quite abbreviated and there are some events which I wish were explained in more detail. Such as in March 1956 when The Family of Man photo exhibition was held at Takashimaya department store in Tokyo. It says that YAMAHATA Yosuke's photo of atom-bombed Nagasaki was hidden with a curtain before Emperor Hirohito came to view the exhibition. The photo was then removed from the exhibition, arousing criticism from both the exhibition organizers and the public.

In May 1968, it says SAKAI Toshio won the Pulitzer Prize for a "photograph taken on assignment in Vietnam." It should at least mention the title of the winning photo ("Dreams of Better Times," a photo of a weary US soldier asleep in the rain). And in 1994, we see that 148 prints by NOJIMA Yasuzo were donated to the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Who donated these extremely valuable works??

Also, there is no mention of digital cameras/photography nor the Internet in the chronology. No mention of Print Club either.

I noticed that the translator habitually translated the word shashin-shu as "collection" or "photo collection." This literal translation can be misleading or incorrect. It should simply be "photo book." And the word "district" is often appended to place names such as "Shinjuku district." Just "Shinjuku" is fine. In Japan, we don't ever say "so-and-so district" with such place names.

The chronology ends with the year 2000. So if you want to know what happened in the years following, check out my PhotoHistory compilation. A lot of things have happened since 2000. I also include the pop-culture and "fun" aspects of Japanese photography history.

The next appendix is also wonderful. Artist Profiles provides biographies of all the photographers featured in the exhibition. There are about 106 artist bios. Most of them are quite detailed, well researched, and easy to read. Unfortunately, it does not include bios for Felix Beato, Baron Stillfried, and Eliphalet Brown, Jr. whose photographs were not included in the exhibition.

Be aware that there are many more important Japanese photographers than the 106 listed here. They should've included photographers like HASHIGUCHI George, IZU Kenro, MIKI Jun, MIYATAKE Toyo, MIYOSHI Kozo, MORI Mariko, ONODERA Yuki, SAWADA Kyoichi, Shinoyama Kishin, TOMIYAMA Haruo, and YAMAHATA Yosuke.

One error I found was under HIROMIX's profile. It says that "her birthname is unknown." I don't know why they couldn't find out because it has been mentioned in Japanese magazines and Iizawa-san would certainly know. Her real name is TOSHIKAWA Hiromi(利川 裕美). I also mentioned this in my [HIROMIX | bio of HIROMIX] (been there for years). I guess the translator didn't know about my Web site. But then, the book's bibliography does not list any Web sites as reference material. I guess in the academic world, Web sites are still considered to be fleeting and unreliable sources of information. Many sites are like that, but there are many good and reliable ones as well. Books aren't perfect either.

Next is Major Photography Clubs and Associations. This is a handy reference because when you read about Japanese photographic history, you will come across the names of many clubs and associations that have come and gone. It's easy to lose track.

The most prominent associations today are the Photographic Society of Japan, Japan Professional Photographers Society, the Japan Advertising Photographers Association, and the All-Japan Association of Photographic Societies (mainly for amateurs).

One club missing from the list is Gynee Gruppe, formed in 1956 by Akiyama Shotaro, OTAKE Shoji, and four others.

The last appendix is Major Photography Magazines which describes the major photo magazines (about 50) that have been published in Japan since 1882. It includes full-color thumbnail images of the magazine covers, something not even the Japanese version (from Nihon Shashin-shi Gaisetsu) has. Very nice. But other than Asahi Camera and Nippon Camera, it does not include the many other popular photo mags that are being published today. I would've liked to see Out of Photographers included too.

If they went through the trouble of introducing as many as 50 magazines, they should've also included an annotated list of 50 (or even 30) of the most important Japanese photo books. It could include books like Araki's Sentimental Journey, HOSOE Eikoh's Ordeal of Roses, ISHIMOTO Yasuhiro's Chicago, Chicago, FUKASE Masahisa's Ravens, MORIYAMA Daido's Memories of a Dog, OHARA Ken's One, SHINOYAMA Kishin's Santa Fe, HATAKEYAMA Naoya's Lime Works, KON Michiko's Eat, Hiromix's [HIROMIX | girls blue], Nagashima Yurie's [Nagashima Yurie | Yurie Nagashima,] HOMMA Takashi's Tokyo Suburbia, IZIMA Kaoru's A Corpse in 20 Scenes, SATOH Tokihiro's Photo Respiration, etc., etc.

Iizawa-san is very well-versed in photo books (he wrote two books about photo books) and he encourages people to buy photo books to support the photographic arts. So I'm surprised that there's no such appendix. But fortunately, you got PhotoReviews, right?

My conclusions

Although I wouldn't call this book/exhibition "epoch-making" as Iizawa-san did in a Japanese photo magazine article, I have no qualms in saying that this is indeed a milestone book and exhibition. But people should know that it does not cover everything and everybody.

There will always be a lot more to Japanese photography than can be presented by any book or exhibition. In other words, there is still much more that can be written and published (in English) about Japanese photography. It shouldn't stop with this book.

Other errata

Other errors that happened to catch my eye while skimming through the book:

page 3, 2nd paragraph:

Ms. Tucker says "In the late 1960s, a number of young independent scholars, including Kaneko Ryuichi, Iizawa Kotaro, and Hiraki Osamu, began to collect photographs, publish articles, and organize exhibitions..." Well, Iizawa (b. 1954) was probably too young to be that active in the late 1960s.

page 279, 1st paragraph:

"Hara Museum ARC in Ikaho, Gumma Prefecture." The museum is in Shibukawa, not Ikaho.

page 332, June 1991:

"Arai Shimpei" should be Asai Shimpei.

page 340:

"Hanaya Kambei" can also be spelled as Kambe'e (like "Ihe'e" as in Kimura).

page 399, index:

"Photo Japan magazine" should be Photo Japon magazine.

P.S. It's cheaper to buy the book at Amazon than at the museum's gift shop (not sold at their Web site). The white book jacket also soils easily so get a vinyl cover for it.

(Reviewed by Philbert Ono)

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