Takashi Hamaguchi was born in 1931 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from middle school under the old educational system, he took up an interest in photography through his first job at a photographic supply store in the Kansai region. In 1955 he moved to Yokohama and opened an independent camera store. Following the debut of Rikkō Nakamura, Takashi Kijima and Shōmei Tōmatsu, he was one of the rare examples of those who became professional photographers having participated in the monthly photo contests hosted by the postwar photography magazines. Of all the photojournalists who documented the Sanrizuka protest movement, he spent the longest time, his photographs spanning more than twelve years starting in 1966.

In this exhibition, Zen Foto Gallery presents works taken in 1971 and 1977 on colour positive film, which have been reproduced on RP direct prints. These works have not previously been published. As monochrome journalistic photographs were conventional in this period, it is very rare to see photos of the Sanrizuka protests in colour. We sincerely invite you to see these striking works by Takashi Hamaguchi.

Artist Profile


Takashi Hamaguchi was born in 1931 in Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. Having dreamed about becoming a painter, he took up an interest in photography through his first job at a photographic supply store in the Kansai region, after graduating from middle school under the old educational system. In 1955 he moved to Yokohama and opened an independent camera store. In 1956 he registered with the _Nihon Hodo-Shashin Renmei _photojournalist association that was established by the Mainichi Newspaper with the aim of enhancing culture by supporting the wide-ranging work of amateur photographers. Its board members included Ken Domon and Ihei Kimura. He was then able to further pursue photography and develop his own photographic techniques. His image of a student throwing a rock at Crown Prince Akihito’s wedding carriage was published in magazines and attracted wide attention. Following this debut publication he then recorded, over 9 years, socio-political issues and events regarding American military bases, the Niigata earthquake, student struggles, and Sanrizuka struggles.

In 1968, his solo-exhibition Record and Instant was held at the Nikon Salon photography gallery, and a year later his first photobook was published under the same title. The ‘Niigata Earthquake’ and ‘American Military Base’ photographs featured in _Record and Instan_t received the Prime Minister’s Prize in the All-Japan Mainichi Photography Competition and first prize in the ‘Images of Japan’ award from the Asahi Camera journal respectively. This led him to join the Japan Professional Photographers Society and to establish himself as a photographer. His works published in _Record and Instant _capturing the student struggles drew public attention and in 1969 the photobook University Struggle Towards ANPO 70 was published. His serial ‘Angle’ was included in 23 issues of the Nihon Camera journal between 1971 and 1972. The series was acclaimed for its stance based on the idea of grasping society and humanity through political events and social issues as well as humour and caricature. The series was published as Document Angle by the same publisher. In 1978 the Sanrizuka Struggle series, which included over 12 years of work, was published as The Shudders of Narita Airport. Through the large body of work he produced over the years, that included various subjects and locations, we not only grasp the social-political conditions of changing post-war society, but also the photographer’s own passion and sensibility towards the core subjects of his images.

His enthusiasm did not fade away and he produced another body of work that documented war orphans residing in China during their visit to Japan. These images were compiled in the 1982 photobook Record of the Reunion of Japanese War Orphans Left in China. In 1985 he published Hymn to the North Sea which was a collection of images of Hokkaido taken over 10 years. Along with these various themes, he has continuously visited and photographed Mount Fuji over 30 years, and his most recent photographic subjects include the Great Hanshin earthquake, volcanic eruptions and the Tohoku earthquake. In 1997 he received Yokohama Culture Award, for his tireless commitment to the development of art photography through his works of documentary photography.

Takashi Hamaguchi's solo-exhibition, focusing on his series of the student protest from the 1960s, will be held at Taka Ishii Gallery Photography Paris from December 4, 2014 to January 24 2015.

Publications & Prints