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[Image]Elephant and Woman Waiting to Perform: Origin of Ganga, 1980, from Mind Games ©Yoko Suzuki

Elephant and Woman Waiting to Perform: Origin of Ganga, 1980, from Mind Games
©Yoko Suzuki

Mind Games: Photographs by Kiyoshi Suzuki

FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum Photo Exhibition

January 4 – March 29, 2023 (The exhibition closes at 16:00 on the final day)




  • Japanese photo books, which underwent a series of unique developments in the 1960s and ’70s, have begun to attract a great deal of interest both in Japan and abroad. Of particular note in this regard are exhibitions of Suzuki Kiyoshi’s works, which have been increasingly reevaluated in recent years.
  • Suzuki’s handmade photo books elevated the genre to an unrivaled medium of expression while also making an indelible mark on the history of Japanese photography.
  • The exhibition also includes countless valuable mockups Suzuki made in the process of creating his photo books. These loosely-bound collections of page layouts contain copies of his works, captions, and other elements that were set to appear in the books.

About the exhibition

Fujifilm Square Photo History Museum is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition of works by Kiyoshi Suzuki, a photographer who brought an inimitable dimension to the photo book as a creative medium.

Japanese photo books, which developed along their own unique path during the 1960s and 1970s, have been drawing a great deal of attention overseas in recent years. Kiyoshi Suzuki (1943-2000), a photographer who published eight photo books (all but one self-published) during his 30-year career, was an extraordinary figure due to the distinctive dimension he introduced to the photo book as a medium of expression. Each of the collections of photos he presented to the world, after personally carrying out a process of repeated trial and error by meticulously compiling numerous dummy books,*1 exerts a powerful presence and awakens the joy of the senses.

*1  A dummy book is like a prototype for a photo book, in which photocopies of works and captions are laid out and bound in book form.

Kiyoshi Suzuki was born in 1943 in the coal-mining community of Yoshima Village (present-day Iwaki City), Fukushima Prefecture. After graduating from high school, he moved to Tokyo to become a manga artist, but soon gave up on this dream. Right around that time he happened to look through Ken Domon's book of photographs Children of Chikuho, which he had brought with him to Tokyo. He saw great potential in photography as a hand-crafted visual art medium that shares similarities with painting, graphic design, and manga, and he enrolled in the Tokyo College of Photography. After graduating in 1969, he made his debut as a photographer with the series Coal Mining Towns, published in Camera Mainichi in 1969 and 1970, in which he documented coal mines in various regions which were falling into decline as Japan transitioned to new energy sources, and which also reflected his own hometown and upbringing. In 1972 he self-published his first book of photographs, Soul and Soul, using his high school experience working at a printer's while attending night school.

With Mind Games (1982), his third self-published book, for the first time he entrusted the book's design and binding, which he had previously handled entirely on his own, to the designer Hitoshi Suzuki. For Kiyoshi Suzuki, who placed great importance on the juxtaposition of photographs and what emerged from interactions among them, the reconfiguration of a series from another person's perspective was a great opportunity to discover new worlds within his own photographs. In 1983 he received the 33rd Newcomer's Award from the Photographic Society of Japan for the book and the exhibition of the same name. The Japanese title, Tenmaku no machi, meaning “a town of tents,” was derived from early childhood memories of visiting a circus with his father, and the book is composed of four parts: “People Under the Tent,” “Aqua,” “Lying in the Ruins,” and “Fool on the Road,” the last focusing on a homeless man named Tetsuo Urasaki who Suzuki had befriended. The images of drifters, such as circus members and street dwellers, resemble a journey through Suzuki's own memories and dreams, inviting the viewer into a space between dream and reality.

This exhibition, Mind Games, features approximately 40 photographs from the book of the same title, as well as rare prototypes compiled by the artist himself, using photocopies, for photo books published during his lifetime.

Profile of the Photographer

Kiyoshi Suzuki (1943 – 2000)

1943Born on November 30 in Yoshima Village, Iwaki-gun (present-day Iwaki City), Fukushima Prefecture.
1965Graduated from Fukushima Prefectural Taira Dai-ni High School (night school) and moved to Tokyo with the goal of becoming a manga artist.
1969Graduated from Tokyo College of Photography. Made debut as a photographer with the six-part series Coal Mining Towns, published in Camera Mainichi (until 1970). Continued with photography while making a living as a sign painter.
1972Self-published Soul and Soul.
1976Self-published The Light That Has Lighted the World.
1982Self-published Mind Games.
1983Received the 33rd Newcomer's Award from the Photographic Society of Japan for the book and exhibition Mind Games.
1985Took a position as instructor at Tokyo College of Photography.
1988Self-published S Street Shuffle.
1991The Ship of Fools published by IPC (Inter Press Corporation).
1992Self-published Southern Breeze.
Received the 17th Ina Nobuo Award for the solo exhibition Mother's Sea.
1994Self-published Finish Dying.
1995Received 14th Ken Domon Award.
1997Published the hand-printed lithograph portfolio India Song (produced by Works H).
1998Self-published Durasia.
2000    Died on March 23, aged 56.

Exhibition overview

Title FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum Photo Exhibition
Mind Games: Photographs by Kiyoshi Suzuki
Dates January 4 – March 29, 2023
Time 10:00 - 19:00
(until 16:00 on final day, last entry 10 minutes before closing time)
Open every day while exhibition is on view.
Venue Photo History Museum, FUJIFILM SQUARE
Admission Free

* This is a Mecenat exhibition and is open to the general public for free.

Number of works approx. 40 works
Organizer FUJIFILM Corporation
Supervisor Yoko Suzuki, Hikaru Suzuki, Yu Suzuki
Planning Contact

* This exhibition may be cancelled or rescheduled for unavoidable circumstances. Visit FUJIFILM SQUARE online or call for updates.


~ History of Photography — more than 190 years ~

Not many museums focus on the historical evolution of the photographic arts and cameras like you will discover here. More than 190 years of history are recounted through exhibits of antique cameras and Fujifilm products, as well as periodic exhibitions of historically significant photos. You will revel at how photography has transitioned over the years.

In 2022, The FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum was recognized by the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts for “contributions to society through the promotion of arts and culture” and has been authorized to use the “THIS IS MECENAT 2022” logo.