Home > Exhibitions & events > Photographs of Murou-ji Temple by Ken Domon
  • Dates and Times
  • Part 1, October 1 - November 30, 2010 10:00 - 19:00
    Part 2, December 1, 2010 - January 31, 2011 10:00 - 19:00
    Special exhibition, February 1 - February 28, 2011 10:00 - 19:00
  • Venue
  • Admission
  • Free
  • Number of exhibits
  • About 25 each time
  • Current exhibitions & events

Photographs of Murou-ji Temple by Ken Domon

Flash Area.

Please note that this exhibition closed on Monday, February 28, 2011

In his autobiography, Ken Domon writes, "The first time I ever visited Murou-ji Temple was in December 1939." A massive wood-carved image of a seated Buddha from the early Heian period (794-1185) at the temple led Domon to conduct several pilgrimages to old temples. Domon's photo of the image entitled "The most beautiful man in Japan," became one his best-known works. In 1946, Domon traveled from war-torn Tokyo to Murou-ji Temple and was so impressed with the temple's unchanging atmosphere that he began a series of frequent visits, and in 1955 he published his photo collection Murou-ji Temple.

This two-part exhibition features 50 works from Murou-ji Temple, a place that Domon loved throughout his life. We look forward to welcoming you to Ken Domon's Murou-ji Temple.

Due to the great success of our exhibition Murou-ji Temple, we are pleased to announce the holding of a special exhibition of 25 of the most popular photographic works selected from Parts I and II of the original exhibition. The duration of this special exhibition will be February 1 - 28, 2011. We look forward to welcoming you to our special exhibition of Murou-ji Temple.

Profile of Ken Domon (1909-1990)

Born in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, in 1935 Domon joined Nihon Kobo, an organization that produced news photographs. He later worked as an independent photojournalist recording the tremendous changes taking place in Japan until he was stricken by cerebral thrombosis in 1979. During his career he produced many photographic collections including Bunraku (1972), Hiroshima (1958), Fubo (1953) and Koji Junrei (five volumes, 1963-75). Reflecting on the inadvertent role he played during WWII producing propaganda photographs, he became a main proponent of the postwar photographic realism movement that focused on society and the lives of ordinary people, and his powerful works influenced many amateur photographers of the age. Declaring his love of Japan and the Japanese people, Domon changed his focus and attempted to capture the essence of his photographic subjects. The photographs he took of Buddhist images both prior to and during WWII remain among the most highly acclaimed of his works and are thought to exemplify his photographic aesthetic. Before his death in 1990, Domon donated the entire body of his works to the city of his birth, and in 1983, the city of Sakata honored him by opening the Ken Domon Memorial Photographic Museum.

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