In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Postwar Japanese Photography: A Selected Bibliography
  • Thomas F. O’Leary (bio), Patricia Lenz (bio), and Shir Yeffet (bio)
    Translated by Anat Icar-Shoham (bio)

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Kawada Kikuji, The Last Sunrise of Showa Era, 1989 January 7, from the series The Last Cosmology.

© Kikuji Kawada. Courtesy PGI, Michael Hoppen Gallery.

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Overview and Introduction

The first daguerreotypes and cameras arrived in Japan in 1848, less than a decade after the invention of photography in the West. From that moment on, photography has remained a central aspect of Japanese visual culture, ranging from the portrait studios of Yokohama to the contemporary photographers of today. The history of photography in Japan is as intertwined with its visual and popular culture, as it is in Europe and the United States.

The study of Japanese photography in Europe and the United States has been growing steadily since the end of World War Two and, in particular, since 1974 when the Museum of Modern Art in New York held its New Japanese Photography exhibition curated by John Szarkowski and Yamagishi Shōji. This exhibition featured photographers such as Domon Ken, Hosoe Eikoh, Tōmatsu Shōmei, and Moriyama Daidō, names that will be familiar to anyone with an interest in the history of Japanese photography. During the Heisei period, artists and photographers, such as Morimura Yasumasa and Yanagi Miwa, continued pushing the limits of lens-based images by engaging with globalized concepts such as gender, race, and class identity, as well as other forms of contemporary practices, bringing Japanese photographic work to an even wider audience.

One of the primary barriers to a deeper engagement with the history of Japanese photography for audiences in Europe and the United States has been linguistic. This bibliography seeks to provide those with an interest in the history of Japanese photography a list of sources published in Western languages on the subject. The list begins with the Shōwa era (1926–89), emphasizing photographers who worked after the war, and continues through the Heisei era (1989–2019), when women photographers entered the field en masse. Within those historical periods, we sought to further divide the list into historical overviews, critical writings, photographers, and museum exhibitions. [End Page 243] This list, like any other, is limited by the historical moment in which it is published, as well as the space allotted in this journal. Therefore, it is the goal of all those who have participated in the creation of this list that it continue to live and grow online. We plan to expand this list to include writings on Japanese photography from Bakumatsu, Meiji, Taishō, and prewar Shōwa photography, making it a live and searchable online application. If fellow scholars and colleagues find any lacuna in the current list, or want to ensure that certain materials will be included in the future bibliography, we warmly welcome any and all contributions. Additionally, all efforts have been made to create accurate and complete references. Please feel free to alert us to any errors so they may be rectified in the online version.

For the preliminary collection, we relied on John Clark’s compiled bibliography of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, self-published in 2011. From that list, we extracted the items related to Japanese photography and then added several Ph.D. bibliographies and course syllabi. Contributions from Japan Art History Forum (JAHF) members and the PoNJA GenKon community have further expanded the list, and the introduction of sources in other European languages (German, French, Italian, and Spanish) has completed the current task.

I would like to thank Ayelet Zohar for spearheading and initiating this project; without her dedication and leadership, this bibliography would never have been completed. Additionally, Rebecca Corbett lent invaluable expertise in terms of shaping the organization of this version of the bibliography. Finally, the project would never have come to fruition without the assistance of the following, who put in tremendous time and energy tracking down sources. I would like to thank: Anat Icar-Shoham, who edited the preliminary list, and integrated the addition of the new information we received from the Art History community; Patricia Lenz, who worked on the...