Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now

October 15, 2016–March 12, 2017

Floor 3


One of the most significant contributions to the art of photography comes from postwar Japan. After World War II, the country began to produce film and camera equipment, supporting a large amateur photography culture and sponsoring native photographers as important artistic producers. This exhibition highlights SFMOMA’s considerable collection of Japanese photography, focusing on generous gifts from our community and the important donation of the Kurenboh Collection, Tokyo. Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now includes photographs from the 1960s, when major figures such as Shomei Tomatsu and Daido Moriyama investigated Americanization and industrial growth; the more personal and performative work of Nobuyoshi Araki and Eikoh Hosoe; and photography addressing the present culture and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Organized thematically, the show explores topics such as Japan’s relationship with America, changes in the city and countryside, and the emergence of women, especially Miyako Ishiuchi, Rinko Kawauchi, and Lieko Shiga, as significant contributors to contemporary Japanese photography.

Exhibition Preview

Lieko Shiga, Tomlinson FC, from the series Lilly, 2005; collection SFMOMA, gift of the Kurenboh Collection; © Lieko Shiga

Eikoh Hosoe, Kamaitachi #17, 1965, printed 1971; collection of the Sack Photographic Trust; © Eikoh Hosoe

Miyako Ishiuchi, ひろしま/hiroshima #71, 2007, printed 2016; collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Miyako Ishiuchi

Rinko Kawauchi, Untitled, from the series the eyes, the ears, 2005; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, anonymous gift; © Rinko Kawauchi

Tsunehisa Kimura, Untitled, 1977; promised gift of a private collection to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; © Estate of Tsunehisa Kimura

Yasumasa Morimura, An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns), 2001; collection SFMOMA, gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein; © Yasumasa Morimura



Digital Publication

Focus on Japanese Photography: Centered on SFMOMA’s large, diverse collection of Japanese photography from the postwar years to the present, this digital publication examines the development of the country’s distinctive and innovative photographic culture through the work of key practitioners of the last six decades.


Artist talk by Naoya Hatakeyama at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, April 22, 2015.

Major support for Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now is provided by Lisa and John Pritzker. Additional support is provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and the Japan Foundation.

National Endowment for the Arts

Header image: Lieko Shiga, Tomlinson FC, from the series Lilly, 2005; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, gift of the Kurenboh Collection; © Lieko Shiga