A photo exhibition by Takeyoshi Tanuma, the first photographer to be awarded the Order of Culture medal, and the man who captured images of the people who contributed to the postwar recovery and development of Tokyo

Tokyo on My Mind — a photo exhibition by Takeyoshi Tanuma

  • A new sky cruiser on the roof of the Matsuya department store in Asakusa
    Takeyoshi Tanuma, 1956

  • A large crowd of people watching a professional wrestling match on a giant outdoor screen
    at the plaza in front of Shinjuku Station
    Takeyoshi Tanuma, 1955

  • Popular rakugo storyteller Kokontei Shinsho and trainees
    Takeyoshi Tanuma, 1959

  • Two dancers take a break on the rooftop of the former Asakusa International Theater
    Takeyoshi Tanuma, 1949

  • The Olympic Cauldron is lit at the National Stadium to herald the opening of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games
    Takeyoshi Tanuma, 1964

Please note that this exhibition closed on Thursday, July 9, 2020

We are pleased to announce the photo exhibition ‘Tokyo on My Mind’ — a photo exhibition by Takeyoshi Tanuma, which will be held at FUJIFILM SQUARE from June 9 to July 9, 2020.

On November 3, 2019, Takeyoshi Tanuma become the first photographer ever to be awarded the prestigious Order of Culture decoration. The award was presented in recognition of the original world Tanuma has created throughout his long and distinguished career, the passion that underlies his works even today at the grand age of 90, and in appreciation of his long-standing efforts to nurture young photographers and raise the status of photography to a recognized art form. In 2020, Tanuma was also presented with a special award of the Asahi Prize for his many contributions to photography.

Born in a commercial photographic studio in Tokyo's Asakusa district in 1929, after graduating from the Tokyo College of Photography (present-day Tokyo Polytechnic University), Tanuma joined the Sun News Photos company and pursued a career as a photographer under the guidance of the celebrated photographer Ihei Kimura. He is known for the diversity of his photographic subjects, which include portraits of several well-known novelists and painters, the natural landscapes of the Musashino Plain, depictions of gritty downtown Tokyo, and the world of children. He also traveled to Europe to take images of ancient religious buildings, and captured scenes of children fleeing from conflict zones and natural disasters in refugee camps. For over 70 years he has energetically explored the possibilities of photographic expression, and even today at the age of 90, he remains an active figure in the world of photography. Many of Tanuma's images depict indelible scenes of Tokyo, where he was born and grew up. However, his journey as a news photographer began with the scenes of devastation he witnessed as a 16-year-old boy when Tokyo was bombed and transformed into a sea of flames during WWII. His images sought to capture the inner strength of the survivors of this horrific experience in the narrow lanes and alleys of downtown Tokyo as they struggled to recover from the depths of despair and regain their zest for life. He continued to capture scenes of the various hardships the local residents overcame as they contributed to the initial recovery and later development of the great metropolis of Tokyo. This photo exhibition looks back over the life and works of Takeyoshi Tanuma with several carefully selected images that epitomize his great body of work. In particular, the exhibited images feature the people he so sincerely and earnestly sought to portray as they worked toward the recovery of Tokyo in the immediate postwar period and the subsequent development and transformation of the city.

Takeyoshi Tanuma — profile

Takeyoshi Tanuma

Takeyoshi Tanuma was born in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1929. After graduating from the Tokyo College of Photography (present-day Tokyo Polytechnic University), he joined the Sun News Photos company in 1949, working under the guidance of the renowned photographer Ihei Kimura. He worked for the Geijutsu Shincho monthly magazine and other publications until turning freelance in 1959. In 1965, he concluded contracts with the US magazines Time and Life. His body of works includes photos of children from around the world, humans in dramatic circumstances, the natural scenery of the Musashino Plain, and portraits of prominent writers and artists. From 1995 to 2015 he served as the president of the Japan Professional Photographers Society. His awards include the 1979 ExxonMobil Children's Culture Award, and the 1985 Kikuchi Kan Prize. In 1990 he was the recipient of the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Government of Japan, in 2002 the Order of the Sacred Treasure was bestowed upon him, the following year he was honored as a Person of Cultural Merit, in 2019 he become the first photographer to be awarded the Order of Culture Medal, and in 2020 he was presented with a special award of the Asahi Prize for his outstanding contribution to photography. He currently serves as the president of the Japan Photographic Copyright Association, a director at the Japan Photo Conservation Center, and as Professor Emeritus of Photography at the Tokyo Polytechnic University.

Name of exhibition Tokyo on My Mind — a photo exhibition by Takeyoshi Tanuma
Dates and times June 9 — July 9, 2020     10:00—19:00
open everyday throughout the exhibition (closes at 14:00 on final day of exhibition; last entry ten minutes before closing)
Admission Free
* This exhibition is being held as a corporate MECENAT activity, and we are pleased to announce that admission is free to enable more people to attend the exhibition.
Organised by FUJIFILM Corporation, Asahi Shimbun
Planning by Crevis Inc.

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