We are open today.(10:00-18:00)

(Sumō wrestlers) , Shimooka Renjō, c.1868–71, Albumen print, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

History of Early Japanese Photography: Kantō Region

Images of Japan, 1853-1912

Dec. 1, 2020Jan. 24, 2021

  • Dec. 1, 2020Jan. 24, 2021
  • Closed Mondays (if Monday is a national holiday or a substitute holiday, it is the next day), and Dec.29 - Jan.1
  • Admission:Adults ¥700(560)/College Students ¥560(440)/High School and Junior High School Students, Over 65 ¥350(280) * Prices in parenthesis apply to groups of 20 or more. (Reservation is required.) *Admission is free for grade school children or younger, junior high school students living or attending schools in the Tokyo metropolitan area, holders of Japan’s disability identification cards (shogaisha techo) together with two caregiver, and holders of the museum’s annual passport together with one accompanying person. *Admission is free for everyone on January 2, 3 and 21. *Multiple discounts do not apply.

“History of Japanese Early Photography: Kantō Region, Images of Japan, 1853-1912” is part of an ongoing series of exhibitions at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum that introduce early photographic technology and history through in-depth explorations of how photography entered and developed in different regions of Japan.

This exhibition focuses on culture related to early photography as it developed in the Kantō Region during the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods in 19th century Japan. Under the supervision of Takahashi Norihide, an expert on early photography and photographic processes in the College of Art at Nihon University, the exhibition provides easy-to-understand explanations of lost technologies for producing physical photographic images while also exploring the photographic culture that swept into Japan along with the opening of treaty ports during the Bakumatsu period and became established during the Meiji period.
Exhibits include groups of works that illustrate each of the early photographic methods as well as portraits of samurai who were both astounded and delighted by this new optical technology. There are also views of Edo, Yokohama and Yokosuka taken by foreigners who visited Japan during the Bakumatsu period.
In addition, the exhibition also presents photographic portraits made in the earliest photographic studios in Japan, including a work by Ukai Gyokusen, the first Japanese to open a commercial photography studio. The exhibition introduces the first photographers to open businesses in various locations in the Kantō Region along with examples of their work.
Through original prints and negative plates as well as photographic equipment, tools and more, this exhibition provides a fascinating and multifaceted overview of photography and related culture in Japan from its beginnings in the 1850s through its subsequent flowering in the remaining decades of the 19 th century and into the early 20th century.

Video archive
Online gallery tour [in Japanse]

□ Organized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Yomiuri Shinbun and the Japan Association of Art Museums.
□ Supported by Lion Corporation, DNP Dai Nippon Insatsu and Sompo Japan Insurance Inc.


English online gallery tour [Live]
Dec. 18 (Fri) 17:00~
English online gallery tour of current exhibition, "History of Early Japanese Photography in Kantō Region, Images of Japan 1853-1912."
As a special service, and in lieu of in-person gallery tours which have been temporarily suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the museum is offering a live, online introduction to this exhibition in English.
Alice Gordenker, a writer and researcher in Japanese photographic history, will speak about early Japanese photography and, through slides and images, review some of the highlights of the exhibition.
Time: From 17:00, for 30-45 minutes
How to Access: Tune into the museum's YouTube channel.
*Free, no sign-up necessary.
*A video of the event will be posted on the channel after the event, and available for later viewing.

English online gallery tour [Archive]