“Sorry for being an idiot”

Yang Seung-Woo, mainly known for serious photography projects like “Shinjuku Lost Child” about the darker corners of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district or “Last Cabaret” about the final days of a legendary cabaret club in Kabukicho, chooses himself as the subject of his latest book “Yang-Taro Baka-Taro”.

Centered around an episodic, autobiographical essay about his childhood memories back in Korea, Yang portrays himself in numerous humorous self-portraits and diary-like shots taken in Japan and on travels around the world. Despite the heavy use of self-ironic imagery and his inclusion of embarrassing anecdotes (e.g. being stung by a bee on the tip of his penis as a child), both text and photographs nonetheless form into an introspective, thoughtful piece of self-reflection that is as stimulating as it is enjoyable.

“It is often said that memories and early landscapes of childhood play an important role in the works we create. Therefore, forgetting one’s childhood is a serious matter for those who create art.
In other words, I am told that it is okay for me to be who I am, as a person who has never grown up. This work is about the landscapes of my childhood, as someone who cannot grow up.”
― Yang Seung-Woo

The book is available in two bilingual versions: Chinese & English, and Japanese & English.

Artist Profile

YANG Seung-Woo

Born in Korea, Seung-Woo Yang first came to Japan in 1996. After graduating from Nippon Photography Institute and the photography department of Tokyo Polytechnic University, he completed his graduate research in Media Art at Tokyo Polytechnic University and continued his career in Japan. In 2016, his publication “Shinjuku Lost Child” with Zen Foto Gallery, a monochrome street photography series which focused on the people at Kabukicho, Shinjuku received the 36th Domon Ken Award. He also released “End of the Line - Kotobukicho” with Zen Foto Gallery in 2017 and had his solo exhibition in inbetween gallery, Paris, expanding his activities internationally. His other publications so far include “You’re there and I’m here” (Shinpusha, 2006), “You’re there and I’m here 2” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2011), “The Best Days” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2012), “The Best Days” new edition (Zen Foto Gallery, 2019), "The Last Cabaret" (Zen Foto Gallery, 2020), "Yang-Taro Baka-Taro" (Zen Foto Gallery, 2021), "TEKIYA" (Zen Foto Gallery, 2022) and "Baggage" (Zen Foto Gallery, 2023).

Gallery Exhibitions


Dates: January 12 (Fri) — February 3 (Sat), 2024