Ishimoto Yasuhiro Centennial

Ishimoto Yasuhiro (1921-2012), a photographer with roots in Kochi, has been highly regarded in Japan and abroad for his clear focus on the essence of his photographic subjects, as well as strictly compositional concepts.
Born in San Francisco as a son of agricultural immigrants, Ishimoto spent his childhood in Takaoka-gun (today Tosa City) in Kochi Prefecture, before moving back to the US to study cutting-edge modern design after the war. His studies at the Chicago school that is commonly known as ”New Bauhaus” informed the creative sensibility that became the foundation of his photographic work. He later moved his base to Tokyo, where he went on to have a significant impact not only in the realm of photography, but in postwar Japanese art and culture at large, encompassing the fields of art, design and architecture.
Next to Katsura Imperial Villa, one of his most famous series of works documenting the photographer’s discovery of modernism within Japanese traditional architecture, the list of Ishimoto’s works is as varied as it is long, including series dedicated to the cities and the people of Chicago and Tokyo; architectural photography focusing on works by such prominent architects as Tange Kenzo and Isozaki Arata; highly unique portraits of various contemporary celebrities; minute examinations into the world of esoteric Buddhism in Mandalas of Two Worlds; the Moment series in which he projects his view of life and death onto uncertain motifs; and Multi Exposure, a collection of dazzlingly vivid color photographs.


The Eleven-Faced Goddess of Mercy of Kokoku, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

Shiga prefecture, known as Omi province through the early modern period, is next door to Nara and Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capitals. Located where people were moving about extensively and trade flourished, the area developed not only through land transport but also water transport on Lake Biwa. Moreover, the western side of Lake Biwa (Kosei) is territory of great religious significance, for there are located the Hira Mountains, which include Mount Hiei, where Enryakuji Temple, a Tendai Buddhist temple, was founded

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The Election 1960, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

Sixty years ago, in 1960, the USA was in an election year just like now in 2020. It happened to be the time when Ishimoto was living in Chicago, where he took a large number of photographs to capture the mood of the moment. He imposed on himself the task of photographing people – which he was aware of as something he wasn’t particularly good at – and started roaming the streets of Chicago, walking and shooting until the soles

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Tokyo – from the “Eizo no Gendai” series, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

Initiated by Yamagishi Shoji, an editor/producer and at once a leading figure in the world of Japanese photography in the 1960s-70s, “Eizo no Gendai” was a series of books showcasing the works of such spirited photographers as Moriyama Daido, Tomatsu Shomei and Narahara Ikko among others. Among the ten volumes the series comprised, volume 8 was dedicated to Ishimoto Yasuhiro and his photos of the city “Tokyo.”   After returning from Chicago, USA, in the 1960s Ishimoto launched into tremendous

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