I used to commute as a day laborer to San'ya from my small 6-tatami-mat room apartment in Kōenji by taking the earliest train in the morning. I wanted to photograph San'ya. People leaning on the guardrails, gathering together to gamble, stand-up restaurants, people getting employed on the spot with pre-paid cash bills, hostels - It was extremely difficult to do the shooting, because people there easily get disturbed by being intervened. So I secretly photographed them by placing my camera in a paper bag with a hole cut opened.

— Shoko Hashimoto

Shoko Hashimoto is best known for his photographs taken in his native Tohoku and other parts of rural Japan. But when he first came to live in Tokyo in the 1960s as a young man, he lived for some periods in Sanya and worked there as one of the casual day labourers. Later on, he went back to Sanya to take photographs.

— Mark Pearson

A tribute to the Showa-era photobook style, "SAN'YA 1968.8.1 - 8.20" presents Shoko Hashimoto's photographs from 50 years ago on textured, coarse papers with compact bookbinding.

Artist Profile


Born in Ishinomaki in 1939, Hashimoto graduated from Nihon University, College of Art in 1964, specializing in photography. In 1974, he received the Newcomer Award from the Photographic Society of Japan with his photobook “Goze” (Nora-sha). In the same year, the series was selected for the “15 Photographers” exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and collected by the museum. Hashimoto actively photographed Lee Dynasty folk paintings in Korea from 1979 to 1981. He had travelled to Nagano, Yamagata, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Yamanashi and Miyagi prefectures to document the folk customs of Japan that were gradually disappearing as a photojournalist. Since 2011, he has regularly returned to photograph his hometown, Ishinomaki, which was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. His recent solo exhibitions include: “Goze” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2013; Zeit-Foto Salon, 2014), “Nishiyama Onsen — Empire of Nakedness” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2014), “A Village Lullaby” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2015), “Biwa Houshi” (Zeit-Foto Salon, 2016), “Literary Scholars” (Sokyusha, 2017), “Goze” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2020), “Goze — Shoko Hashimoto” (Ikeda Art Museum, Niigata, 2022), and “Goze” (AN-A Fundación, Barcelona, 2022). His publications include: “Goze” (Aron Shobo, 1988), “Kitakami River” (Shumpusha, 2014), “Nishiyama Onsen” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2014), “Kitakami River New Edition” (Shumpusha, 2015), “Undergrowth” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2016), “San’ya 1968.8.1–8.20” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2017), “Goze Asahigraph Reprint” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2019), “Goze” (New Complete Edition, Zen Foto Gallery, 2021), and "Ishinomaki" (Zen Foto Gallery, 2023)

Gallery Exhibitions