CASE TOKYO will hold a memorial exhibition of the works of late Japanese photographer Takashi Hamaguchi, who passed away on August 11 at the age of 86. Takashi Hamaguchi, who as a photojournalist had many stories to share about Japan’s recent history, was also active in fine-art photography, holding exhibitions at Taka Ishii Gallery Photography Paris (2014) and Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film (2015) in the years before his death. The exhibition at CASE TOKYO will feature 25 photographs which have entered the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum’s collection in 2017. The photographs are part of two series Hamaguchi created during the Japanese student protest movement and the protests against the construction of Narita Airport in the late 1960s and late 1970s.

It was his keen understanding of the intricate movements and conditions within Japan’s society and his exceptional photographic abilities which allowed Takashi Hamaguchi to capture historical moments inside his camera. Hamaguchi’s photographs, shot from countless positions and diverse points of view, not only documented the state of Japan’s postwar history; they also speak of his passion and sense as a photojournalist to find the true core of whatever his camera was pointed at as well as his decisive humanism which saw him relentlessly reassess the question of how humans ought to live and behave.

Artist

Takashi HAMAGUCHI 浜口タカシ

Takashi Hamaguchi (1931-2018) was born in Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. Having dreamed about becoming a painter, he took up an interest in photography through his first job at a photographic supply store in the Kansai region, after graduating from middle school under the old educational system. In 1955 he moved to Yokohama and opened an independent camera store. In 1956 he registered with the Nihon Hodo-Shashin Renmei photojournalist association that was established by the Mainichi Newspaper with the aim of enhancing culture by supporting the wide-ranging work of amateur photographers. Its board members included Ken Domon and Ihei Kimura. He was then able to further pursue photography and develop his own photographic techniques. His image of a student throwing a rock at Crown Prince Akihito’s wedding carriage was published in magazines and attracted wide attention. Following this debut publication he then recorded, over 9 years, socio-political issues and events regarding American military bases, the Niigata earthquake, student struggles, and Sanrizuka struggles.

In 1968, his solo-exhibition Record and Instant was held at the Nikon Salon photography gallery, and a year later his first photobook was published under the same title. The ‘Niigata Earthquake’ and ‘American Military Base’ photographs featured in Record and Instant received the Prime Minister’s Prize in the All-Japan Mainichi Photography Competition and first prize in the ‘Images of Japan’ award from the Asahi Camera journal respectively. This led him to join the Japan Professional Photographers Society and to establish himself as a photographer. His works published in Record and Instant capturing the student struggles drew public attention and in 1969 the photobook University Struggle Towards ANPO 70 was published. His serial ‘Angle’ was included in 23 issues of the Nihon Camera journal between 1971 and 1972. The series was acclaimed for its stance based on the idea of grasping society and humanity through political events and social issues as well as humour and caricature. The series was published as Document Angle by the same publisher. In 1978 the Sanrizuka Struggle series, which included over 12 years of work, was published as The Shudders of Narita Airport.

His enthusiasm did not fade away and he produced another body of work that documented war orphans residing in China during their visit to Japan. These images were compiled in the 1982 photobook Record of the Reunion of Japanese War Orphans Left in China. In 1985 he published Hymn to the North Sea which was a collection of images of Hokkaido taken over 10 years. Along with these various themes, he has continuously visited and photographed Mount Fuji over 30 years, and his most recent photographic subjects include the Great Hanshin earthquake, volcanic eruptions and the Tohoku earthquake. In 1997 he received Yokohama Culture Award, for his tireless commitment to the development of art photography through his works of documentary photography.

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