PHOTO HISTORY MUSEUM ~ History of Photography — more than 170 years ~

The Photo History Museum is a rare venue where you can learn about the history of photography and progress of cameras through viewing and touching exhibits. Enjoy our collection displayed in three categories.

  • History of Photography

    History of Photography

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  • Hands-on Experience with Replicas

    Please note that the ‘Touch & try’ experience for exhibits has been canceled to contain the spread of novel coronavirus infections.

  • Films and Cameras Throughout
    the History of Fujifilm

    Films and Cameras Throughout

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The copies of exhibit catalog covering the history of photography are available at FUJIFILM SQUARE (1,000 yen including tax).

Current Exhibitions

Photo

FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum Exhibition
Kazuo Kitai: A Photographer on the Road with His Camera
To the Village

Date : April 1, 2021 — June 30, 2021

Photo History Museum has been closed until further notice to prevent the spread of infection from coronavirus.

Kazuo Kitai (1944—) is a leading photographer in postwar Japan. Highly acclaimed in Japan and abroad and still attracting international attention today, his works, which are focused on motifs from daily life, capture the age with precision.

Kazuo Kitai's photographs for To the Village were serialized in twenty-four issues of the Asahi Camera monthly magazine from January 1974 to December 1975. The 1970s was a time when people in Japan were rapidly turning their attention to the cities. As if opposing this trend, Kitai chose the village as his subject, causing a stir with a fresh perspective that portrayed perfectly ordinary everyday life in After the Rice Harvest, Hot Springs, In the Snow, Country Road, Bon Festival, and other photographs. Kitai was presented with the inaugural Kimura Ihei Award for this acclaimed series of photographs. A sequel was serialized in Asahi Camera from January 1976 to June 1977. In October 1976, the To the Village collection of photographs was published in a special issue of Asahi Camera, and in 1980, the re-edited series was published by Tankosha as a photo book. Subsequently adapted and re-published in photo books or presented at photo exhibitions, To the Village is a rare work that has enjoyed uninterrupted attention up to the present day.

In 1964, Kitai launched his career as a photographer with the self-published Resistance (Mirai-sha Publishers, 1965), a collection of photographs he had taken at the demonstrations to block nuclear submarines from making ports of call at the U.S. naval base at Yokosuka. Later, he also photographed the upheaval of the radical student movement for The Asahi Picture News. But eventually, Kitai's interests shifted from conflict to the activities of people in their daily lives. In 1969, Kitai adopted the same standpoint as his subjects for Sanrizuka (Nora-sha, 1971), a photo book where he documented the farmers in the village of Sanrizuka who were opposed to the construction of Narita Airport. Acclaimed for its expression and for its perspective on everyday themes, the work won Kitai The Photographic Society of Japan Newcomer's Award. Developing empathy with the people who became his subjects and photographing their daily lives, Kitai discovered his own unique themes and approaches to photography while working on this project. The warm gaze of the photographer is consistently present in his subsequent works. In To the Village, he painstakingly and quietly captures mundane scenes in farming villages that are on the verge of falling into ruin.

For this exhibition, we have carefully selected approximately thirty valuable vintage prints* from the timeless masterpiece To the Village, a work for which the photographer was awarded the inaugural Kimura Ihei Award. When Kitai took the photographs, the subject of the village was diametrically opposed to the trends of the day, but as the years have passed, the photographs have come to symbolize that era. The casual everyday scenes make us feel even more deeply the importance of keeping records. Today, when our society is permeated with digital photography and social media, the way we take and look at pictures, and the methods of expression have undergone great change. Perhaps this is why these vintage prints from nearly half a century ago speak even more strongly of the starting point of photographs, which is to record, and the essence of photography, which is to express the viewpoint of the photographer.

We hope you will enjoy these masterpieces by the photographer Kazuo Kitai, who recorded his encounters with people and their times.

* A vintage print is made by the photographer within a few years of exposing the negative. It is a valuable and esthetically important print of considerable age. Vintage prints are also important for best reflecting the photographer's ideas when the photos were taken.

Current Exhibitions


Explanation Sessions
Each day at 15:30, an explanation session of the Fujifilm Photo History Museum and the current photo exhibitions are held for retired Fujifilm staff for a period of approx. 30 minutes. All visitors to FUJIFILM SQUARE are also invited to attend these explanations sessions.

Time and days Everyday at 15:30
(including weekends and public holidays; duration: approx. 30 minutes)
VenueFujifilm Photo History Museum
* please note that seating is not available
Admissionfree
No prior application required


In 2020, 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 2020” logo.

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