Museum für Fotografie, Berlin
Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool
On August 15th, 1945 the Pacific War came to an end and with it fourteen years of bombings, of deprivation and of great sacrifice for the Japanese people. With the collapse of Japanese militaristic rule and the arrival of the US occupation forces, the nation suddenly found itself thrust into a new and uncertain era. The myth of the Emperor's divinity, which was born during the Meiji era, was replaced with the American attempt at their homegrown brand of democratisation.
In less than two decades Japan went from crushing military defeat to establishing itself as a rising economic superpower. While this period is well documented, there have been few opportunities in the West to see a Japanese perspective on these postwar years. This project focuses on the uniquely turbulent and transformative postwar years to create a picture of Japan through the sharpest and most engaged photographic eyes of their time.
Metamorphosis of Japan After the War documents the postwar years (1945-1964), showing the crucial role that photography played in the Japanese nation’s search for a new identity. The eleven photographers exhibited here, Ken Domon, Hiroshi Hamaya, Tadahiko Hayashi, Eikoh Hosoe, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Kikuji Kawada, Ihee Kimura, Shigeichi Nagano, Ikko Narahara, Takeyoshi Tanuma, and Shomei Tomatsu, were at the forefront of the photographic boom of the postwar years and laid the foundations for much of modern Japanese photography.
In collaboration with Studio Equis, the Japan Foundation is travelling the exhibition with an opening at the Istituto Giapponese di Cultura in Rome from 20 October 2011 to 14 January 2012, followed by the Museum für Fotografie in Berlin from 9 March to 17 June 2012. A full travelling schedule for the exhibition is available on the Japan Foundation website. A catalogue has been produced to accompany the exhibition.
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