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.


Katsura Imperial Villa, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

The Katsura Imperial Villa, located on the banks of Katsura-gawa river in the suburbs of Kyoto, was built as a retreat for the Hachijonomiya family in the early 17th century. The architectural complex that encompasses among others several shoin (main buildings) and tea houses, along with the surrounding gardens, has been evaluated as a high point of Japanese aesthetic. When Ishimoto visited the Katsura Villa for his first shooting session in 1953, he had just returned to Japan from the

read more →

Nude, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

After having received his education in cutting-edge modern design and photography in America, Ishimoto moved his base to Tokyo in 1953. While exhibiting the photographs he had taken as a student, he worked on his well-known “Katsura Imperial Villa” series, and at the same time, dedicated much of his time also to shooting photos for Japanese photography journals. Next to series focusing on children or sceneries of Tokyo, his nude photographs represent another noteworthy chapter in Ishimoto’s oeuvre. In the

read more →

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

read more →