"Japan: Self Portrait" Exhibition

Setagaya Art Museum

This event has ended.

Japan experienced dramatic social changes, all in less than 20 years, between the end of the Pacific War and the opening of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. During this time, the photography scene also went through various phases, exploring new forms of expression. After Japan lost the war, documentary photography focused on the chaos and disastrous upheavals that gripped society, but soon they started to show the bright side of humanism, striving for new possibilities in life. Then, until the mid 1950s, Japan stood in confusion between tradition and modernization. Even then, talented photographers managed to capture imperishable moments that were particular to their time and place. As the economy started to catch up, photographers also started seeking out new possibilities, experimenting with new ideas and styles.

This exhibition showcases works by photographers who represent postwar Japan. On display are a total of 170 black and white photographs by Kimura Ihei, Domon Ken, Hamaya Hiroshi, Hayashi Tadahiko, Ishimoto Yasuhiro, Nagano Shigeichi, Tanuma Takeyoshi, Tomatsu Shomei, Narahara Ikko, Kawada Kikuji, and Hosoe Eiko. This is the first comprehensive exhibition of post-war Japanese photography, as a homage to those who lived through a harsh time and strove towards innovative artistic expression.

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