Gojinjo-daiko (Wajima) (ca. 1963) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 18

Japanese Festivals Once the Yosakoi Festival that annually adds some color to the summer in Kochi is over, so is the peak of the summer heat, and the city slows down to its laid-back daily routine. Initially launched with the aim to enliven the local shopping district, the festival is held for the 53rd time this year (2006). In addition to the obvious religious festivals dedicated to the gods and ancestors, there are quite a few Japanese festivals with community-building

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Tokyo, Town (1953) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 17

Individual Realism “This is in front of Wako in Ginza. Just when I was about to shoot the vagrant kind of man in the back, a soldier of the Allied Occupation forces and a prostitute passed by, so I released the shutter in that moment. It was in the winter, at 4 or 5 in the afternoon I think.” 50 years ago, there was no sign of the pomp and glory that the Ginza district is known for today. Many

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Hinomaru (1963) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 16

Hinomaru Sceneries With European teams including that of host country Germany advancing to the semifinals, the soccer world cup is exciting enthusiasm around the world. I watched one of the “Zico Japan” team’s matches on TV, earnestly from players taking to the field to the end, but they unfortunately dropped out at the group stage. When the national anthems were played prior to the match, I was fairly surprised to hear “Kimigayo” (Japanese national anthem) reverberate across the stadium, as

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Tokyo, Town (1963-70) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 15

“The Course of Nature” and “Thorough Pursuit” After returning to Japan from his second stay in Chicago, Ishimoto began to teach at the Tokyo College of Photography and Tokyo Zokei University among others, while continuing to roam his everyday life environments in the Tokyo and Fujisawa areas, and observe people’s daily activities, just like he used to do back in Chicago. Even without particularly dramatic happenings, there are minute shifts that instantly occur in the otherwise largely static everyday, and

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Color and Form (1995) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 14

Color and Form Overlapping The multi-exposure work of Color and Form that this part is about has been gracing the cover of the Takenaka Corporation’s in-house magazine Approach for a long time. By capturing the beautiful silhouettes of trees, superimposing architectural structures and other manmade elements, and occasionally adding shots of sketchbooks with painted pictures, Ishimoto has created a set of playful photographs. Preferring the tight air in the winter, he mainly did such multi-exposure work in that time of year.

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Mandala (1973) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 13

The Eros of Abstinence The “Mandalas of the Two Worlds” is a set of two mandalas – the “Taizokai (Womb World) Mandala” and the “Kongokai (Diamond World) Mandala” – that are kept at the Kyoo Gokoku-ji (To-ji) temple in Kyoto. Each of the two mandalas measures about 180 x 150 cm. Depicted on canvases the size of a grown-up man with his arms stretched out is the world of Dainichi Nyorai (Vairocana), the personification of absolute existence in esoteric Buddhism,

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Katsura (1981-82)  ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 12

The Beautiful Simplicity of the Katsura Imperial Villa The stage this time is Japan. One of Ishimoto’s most representative set of works is the Katsura series of photographs of the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto. The airy rhythms that shoji screens and tatami mats create in the soft light; the multiple straight lines of the roofs’ edges; the modernist style expressed through lines and surfaces; the delicate arrangement of steppingstones… Encountering this set of photographs that highlight the appeal of

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Chicago, Town (around 1960)  ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 11

The Final Years in Chicago “Half a year after returning to America, Shigeru (Ishimoto’s wife) found employment at S.H. Mori’s gallery selling works of Japanese arts and crafts, while I started working as a photographer. With the Minolta SR1 over my shoulder, and usually about ten rolls of film in my pockets, I was crisscrossing the city of Chicago from one end to the other.” (Asahi Camera, 1962) During the second period of Ishimoto’s stay in Chicago between 1959 and

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Chicago, Snow and Car (around 1950)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 10

Chicago Snow Designs In the proliferating Japanese cities where architecture happens randomly and regardless of how a building integrates into its environment, and everyone puts up giant billboards for himself in order to stand out, urban planning is largely unrelated to aesthetic aspects. To the eyes of foreigners, the cities built on the principle of not adopting any principle seem to look rather interesting as uniquely novel Japanese urban landscapes. Even sceneries that are normally an eyesore naturally turn into

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Chicago, Town (around 1960)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 9

Codes in Photographs Grouped around two men in the center, the crowd in this picture hold their breath as they gaze at a certain point. The photograph is charged with a sense of tension that suggests that something is about to happen this very moment, whereas the massive pillar that marks the central element here pushes the tension further up. What is it that these men are staring at? A hint can be found painted on the pillar. As you

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