The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto


ExhibitionsNOJIMA Yasuzo: Modern Japan through Nojima’s Lens

NOJIMA Yasuzo: Modern Japan through Nojima’s Lens

<em>Busshukan (Fingered Citrons)</em> (1930) bromoil print; coll. MoMAK
Busshukan (Fingered Citrons) (1930) bromoil print; coll. MoMAK
     NOJIMA Yasuzō (Hiromasa, 1889–1964) is one of the most important figures in the history of modern Japanese photography, his work ranging from kaiga shugi shashin (pictorial photography) to shinkō shashin (new/straight photography) of the early twentieth century.
     Nojima’s earliest works are characterized by a density and heaviness echoing that of pictorialism, based in his subtle sensitivity and the pigment printing process, the mainstream printing method of that time.  In the 1930s, his style takes a drastic turn under the influence of new trends in German photography, shifting toward daringly cropped gelatin silver prints in pursuit of a form of expression that is unique to the medium.  The photography magazine Kōga (Light Pictures; 1932–33), which he co-founded with fellow photographers NAKAYAMA Iwata (1895–1949) and KIMURA Ihei (1901–1974), was principally funded by Nojima and played an extremely important role in the subsequent development of shinkō shashin by introducing important theories of photography from abroad and providing a much-needed outlet for a younger generation of photographers.
     Nojima was also known as an enthusiastic art lover, opening a gallery called ‘Kabutoya Gadō’ (1919–20) in the Jimbō-chō district of Tokyo at his own expense, holding exhibitions of works by up-and-coming artists—especially those of the Shirakaba-ha (White Birch Group), a literary movement that included artists such as renowned painters UMEHARA Ryūzaburō (1888–1986) and KISHIDA Ryūsei (1891–1929)—in the salon located in his own home, and acting as a patron for these artists.  As an advocate of contemporary art of his time, Nojima not only ran a gallery but also took photographs of artworks for their publication in art magazines and monographs.  In the present exhibition, Nojima’s activities as a photographer will be reflected on and reconsidered with a special focus on his collaborative work with other artists of his time, such as the last monograph (published in 1921) by NAKAHARA Teijirō (sculptor, 1888–1921) and a multi-volume collection of designs (published in 1923–27) created by TOMIMOTO Kenkichi (ceramicist, 1886–1963) throughout the 1920s.
     This exhibition has been organized in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of Nojima’s birth.  It is mainly composed of works selected from the Nojima Collection at MoMAK, which was received as a gift from the Nojima Yasuzō Isaku Hozonkai (Society for the Preservation of Nojima Yasuzō’s Works) in 1994, with the addition of other works and materials related to the production of the abovementioned monographs by Nakahara and Tomimoto, coming to a total of approximately 200 exhibits introducing Nojima’s activities as both a photographer and a patron of the arts.  The organizers hope that the exhibition will demonstrate that to follow the transitions in Nojima’s gaze is to examine the creation process of the ‘modern gaze’ of the Japanese in the 1920s and the 1930s.


Related events
Lecture 1: “On the book of designs by Kenkichi Tomimoto”
Aug. 8 (Sat.), 2009  2:00PM–3:30PM
     (numbered tickets distributed 11:00AM–)
Lecturer: TSUCHIDA Maki (art historian)
Place: Lecture hall (maximum capacity 100); free
in Japanese only

Lecture 2: “Yasuzo Nojima and Kōga
Aug. 22 (Sat.), 2009  2:00PM–3:30PM
     (numbered tickets distributed 11:00AM–)
Lecturer: KANEKO Ryūichi (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography)
Place: Lecture hall (maximum capacity 100); free
in Japanese only

Commentary on the exhibits
Aug. 6 (Thu.), 2009  2:00PM–3:00PM
     (numbered tickets distributed 11:00AM–)
Lecturer: HAYASHI Tadashi (photographer; guest researcher at MoMAK)
Place: Lecture hall (maximum capacity 100); free
in Japanese only

Exhibition dates
Tuesday, July 28 – Sunday, August 23

Closed on Mondays

Regular hours
     9:30AM–5:00PM (admission until 4:30PM)

Evening hours (every Friday and August 16)
     9:30AM–8:00PM (admission until 7:30PM)

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
The Kyoto Shimbun Co., Ltd.

  Day of admission Advance Group (20 or more)
Adult 850 700 600
University students 450 350 250
High school students, children under 18 Free Free Free

Advance tickets: Ticket Pia, FamilyMart (P code: 688-753), Lawson (L code:
53150), other major ticket vendors and convenience stores

Publicity materials
Poster (B2) design proposal


Poster (B3) design proposal


Flyer design proposal


Ticket design proposal


Flyer  PDF (681KB)


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