Outline of Exhibition

Recording Landscapes: Photographic Possibilities
Period Nov. 8 (Tue),2011 - Jan. 15 (Sun), 2012
Venue Special Exhibition Galleries, National Museum of Japanese History
Admissions

Adults: ¥830 (¥560)
Senior high school & college students: ¥450 (¥250)
* Fees in parentheses apply to groups of 20 or more
* Admission to permanent exhibitions included
* Free admission for elementary & junior high school students
* Free admission for senior high school students every Saturday

Hours 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (entrance closed at 4:00 p.m.)
Closed

Nov 14 (Mon), 21 (Mon), 28 (Mon), Dec 5 (Mon), 12 (Mon), 19 (Mon), Dec 26 (Mon), 2011- Jan 4 (Wed), 2012, 10 (Tue)

Sponsor National Museum of Japanese History

Landscapes are deeply connected to people’s lives. People live in landscapes and landscapes are created not only in nature but also in the lives of the people. At the exhibition of this project, we introduce photographs that are precious materials as records of landscapes for us to study about history and culture.

Since a photograph has a highly realistic nature, it is a very good material for recording landscapes. A photograph is, however, only one image in which a certain fragment of landscape is momentarily captured. Unlimited space and time exist outside a photograph and before and after a photograph has been taken. Several old photographs have unknown shooting times and locations. Keeping this point in mind, this exhibition is configured to focus on the three viewpoints of expansion of landscape, landscape in the passage of time and diversity of landscape.

For the exhibition materials, the photographs of the “Minoru Ishii Photo Library” held by the National Museum of Japanese History, old photographs, notably those of Japan at the end of the Edo period taken by F. Beato, and modern postcards are mainly used.

For Tokyo and Nagasaki which are the main subjects, many modern illustrations and old photographs exist, and the changes of the landscapes can be followed throughout the ages. In particular, with the experience of the “destruction of landscape” by the Great Kanto Earthquake and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in view, landscapes are grasped in a diversified manner. Concerning Tokyo, using the photographs of Okutama which are contained in the Minoru Ishii Photo Library, we plan to set up a corner for those photographs with which the landscapes of local communities were recorded.

In addition, with the use of a touch panel, in general, photographs of landscapes of various places in Japan will be introduced. Especially, concerning the Great East Japan Earthquake in March this year, photographs of the disaster areas will also be displayed.

Exhibition Lineup

Chapter 1 Expanding landscapes -Edo/Tokyo urban landscapes-

We consider the significance of recording of the expansion of landscapes with the panoramic photographs of towns in Edo/Tokyo taken during the period from the end of the Edo Period when photography was brought into Japan to the Meiji/Taisho Eras. Following the panoramic photographs of Edo taken by Felice Beato, an Italian photographer who came to Japan at the end of the Edo Period and took photographs of the areas about 225 degrees from Mt. Atago-yama which is renowned for its picturesque view of “Teito Fukan Shashin (Tokyo down-shot photograph)” which is the oldest aerial photograph now in existence, “Meiji 21-Nen Satsuei Zen-Tokyo Tenbo Shashin-Cho (Photo album of All Tokyo landscapes taken in the 21st year of the Meiji Era)” which includes landscape photographs for documentation and the destruction of landscapes caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake, we analyze the landscapes of Edo/Tokyo.

【Main Artifacts】

“Townscape of Edo seen from Mt. Atago-yama” (northward), August of 1863, held by Nagasaki University Library
“Townscape of Edo seen from Mt. Atago-yama” (eastward), August of 1863, held by Yokohama Archives of History “Teito Fukan Shashin”, 1904 (37th year of the Meiji Era), held by the Archives and Mausolea Department, Imperial Household Agency
“Meiji 21-Nen Satsuei Zen-Tokyo Tenbo Shashin-Cho”, 1932 (7th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History
“Kanto Daishinsai Shashin-Cho (Great Kanto Earthquake Photo Album)” 1924 (13th year of the Taisho Era) held by the National Museum of Japanese History
“Hibiya Fukin (Around Hibiya)” (“Daishinsai Teito No Jikkyo ), private holding
Postcards by the National Museum of Japanese History
Others

Chapter 2 Landscapes of everyday life I –Stippling, Towns in Tokyo-

With the new and old photographs of Ginza, Shinjuku and downtowns, the changes of the landscapes before and after the high economic growth period are grasped. The expansion of “Tokyo” is reconstituted by stippling the landscapes at the points with the display arrangement corresponding to Chapter 7 Okutama.

【Main Artifacts】

“Tokyo Tower under construction”, taken on August 3, 1960 (35th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
“Yodobashi Purification Plant”, taken on May 27, 1967 (42nd year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History “Minoru Ishii Photo Library”
“Sukiyabashi Crossing”, taken on August 3, 1960 (35th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
Others

Chapter 3 Recording travel and photographs

Attention is focused on the point that a photograph can cut out a landscape and make it possible to take it home. Photographs of landscape were popular for recording travel or as a souvenir. The records of the travels around the world by the Around-The-World Association that preceded that of the general Japanese public, the photographs of Yokohama which were created as souvenirs for foreigners, and the postcards as tourist souvenirs are displayed.

【Main Artifacts】

“Sekai Shashin-Cho (World photo album)”, in 1910 (43rd year of the Meiji Era), held by Nara University Library
“Meiji-ki Shashinshu, Nihon Zanzo (Photo album of the Meiji Era, Residual image of Japan)”, in the middle of the Meiji Era, held by the National Museum of Japanese History
“Kusatsu Postcards”, 1918 to 1933 (7th year of the Taisho Era to 8th year of the Showa Era), private holding
Others

Chapter 4 Landscapes in prefectural photo albums

The photo albums of prefectures which were published a lot in the Meiji and Taisho Eras are considered. The photographs contained in the albums are highly valued as historical materials, and the kinds of photographs that were selected in the compilation of the photo albums mirror the characteristics of the age and the regionality.

【Main Artifacts】

“Mie Prefecture Photo Album”, 1910 (43rd year of the Meiji Era), held by Nara University Library
“Nara Photo Album”, 1908 (41st year of the Meiji Era), held by Nara University Library
“Kanagawa Prefecture Photo Album”, 1913 (2nd year of the Taisho Era), held by Nara University Library
Others

Chapter 5 Recording landscapes -Minoru Ishii and “Geographic photos”-

The Photo Library of Minoru Ishii, who continued to record Japanese landscapes for more than 60 years after the war, (held by the National Museum of Japanese History) is introduced. About 9000 35 mm negatives, that is, about 30 thousand frames, are organized in the order of their shooting dates. In 268 photo albums in which the contact prints of all the films are attached, the shooting locations, information about the subjects and the themes of the photographs are included.

【Main Artifacts】

Glass dry plate, around 1952 (27th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
Cameras used by Minoru Ishii, in the first half of the 20’s of the Showa Era, held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
Notebooks of shooting records and traveling records, held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
35 mm film contact print photo album, held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
Others

Chapter 6 Changing landscapes –Nagasaki landscape history-

With the fixed point photographs taken from Mt. Kazagashira commanding Nagasaki city by Beato (held by Nagasaki University Library), the history of the changing landscapes from the end of the Edo Period to the 1970’s is studied. Especially, the dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945 (20th year of the Showa Era) heavily destroyed the landscape of Nagasaki. In this exhibition, attention is focused on not only changes of the landscape as a whole, but the differences in locations, and the landscape history is three-dimensionally grasped.

【Main Artifacts】

“Nagasaki at the end of the Edo Period seen from Mt. Kazagashira”, 1866, held by Nagasaki University Library
“Panoramic photos of Nagasaki in the Taisho Era” 1925 to 1926 (14th to 15th year of the Taisho Era), held by Nagasaki University Library
“Panoramic photos of Nagasaki city taken from Mt. Kazagashira” (taken on August 22, 1975 (50th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
“Commanding the central part of Nagasaki city from over Mt. Kazagashira”, held by the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum “August and September in the 20th year of the Showa Era, War damage postcards”, private holding
Postcards, held by the National Museum of Japanese History
Others

Chapter 7 Landscapes of everyday life II -Mountain village in Tokyo, Okutama-

With the Minoru Ishii Photo Library (held by the National Museum of Japanese History), various images of the landscape in the local community of Okutama are shown. Not only are individual photographs each showing one fragment or one moment of landscape displayed, but they are also combined in multiple phases and the significance of recording the diversity of regional landscapes is studied.

【Main Artifacts】

“Mine and Oku hamlets of Okutama-machi”, taken on December 24, 1984 (59th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
“Sanbiki Shishimai (Three Lions Dance)”, taken on September 15, 1975 (50th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
”Ogochi Elementary School”, taken on September 30, 1983 (58th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
Others

Special corner Recording and recollection of landscapes –In view of the Great East Japan Earthquake-

When we were preparing for this exhibition, the unprecedented great earthquake struck Eastern Japan. The landscapes were destroyed by the earthquake, tsunami and furthermore, the nuclear power plant accident occurred. Under such a situation, the importance of history and culture has been gaining renewed attention toward reconstruction. As a matter of course, we should record the landscapes seen and we should also review the photographs recording the old landscapes which were established in the history and culture. In the hope that these records will be connected with people’s memory and become a motivating power for reconstruction, we will display the photographs recording the landscapes of the disaster areas.

【Main Artifacts】

“Kesennuma Port”, taken on May 4, 1995 (7th year of the Heisei Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
“Ishinomaki Port”, taken on November 1, 1969 (44th year of the Showa Era), held by the National Museum of Japanese History (Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
Others

“Second, north-north west, viewing the direction of Yayoi Okamoto Go Maruyama over the Women's Higher Normal School”   “First, north, viewing the direction of Ikenohata Kaya-cho over the Women's Higher Normal School”
“Second, north-north west, viewing the direction of Yayoi Okamoto Go Maruyama over the Women's Higher Normal School”
Taken in January, 1889 (22nd year of Meiji), held by the National Museum of Japanese History
(“Meiji 21-Nen Satsuei Zen-Tokyo Tenbo Shashin-Cho” [part])
 
“First, north, viewing the direction of Ikenohata Kaya-cho over the Women's Higher Normal School”
Taken in January, 1889 (22nd year of Meiji), 1889, held by the National Museum of Japanese History
(“Meiji 21-Nen Satsuei Zen-Tokyo Tenbo Shashin-Cho” [part])
“Construction of the expressway (Nishiazabu)”   “Construction of the expressway (Nishiazabu)”
“Construction of the expressway (Nishiazabu)”
Taken on January 20, 1966 (41st year of Showa), held by the National Museum of Japanese History
(Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
 
“Construction of the expressway (Nishiazabu)”
Taken on January 16, 1967 (42nd year of Showa), held by the National Museum of Japanese History
(Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
“Construction of the expressway (Nishiazabu)”   “Construction of the expressway (Nishiazabu)”
“Construction of the expressway (Nishiazabu)”
Taken on January 23, 1971 (46th year of Showa), held by the National Museum of Japanese History
(Minoru Ishii Photo Library)
 
“Photo album of Meiji Era, Residual image of Japan”
In the middle of the Meiji Era, held by the National Museum of Japanese History
(Noted point in Nagasaki) Riverside of Nishihama machi   “Kesennuma Port”
(Noted point in Nagasaki) Riverside of Nishihama machi
(Postcards) 1918 to 1933 (7th year of Taisho to 8th year of Showa), held by the National Museum of Japanese History
 
“Kesennuma Port”
Taken on May 4, 1995 (7th year of Heisei), held by the National Museum of Japanese History
(Minoru Ishii Photo Library)

Note: Please note that items in the exhibition are subject to change.