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Kuwabara Shisei

Award-winning photographs in the Main Bar from May 10 - June 6, 2014

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"This book will perhaps be my last work during my life as an impoverished photographer who began with Minamata disease and returned to it in the end. If I were to do a photographic exhibition now, what kind of exhibition would it be? With this thought in mind, I attempted to select photographs from among approximately 30,000 frames of film. The result is this photo-documentary. I opened with the latest news of the Supreme Court judicial decision because I am a news photographer. I hope to imagine the surprise of the readers when they are told that an image of the deceased patient who finally won her lawsuit is among the photographic film I took 53 years ago while she was alive. The continuing scene of the two memorials is the present culmination of this drawn-out disaster. It is probably not easy for young readers to grasp what this disaster is about when they see the opening sections. I hope to describe and investigate more than a half-century of the Minamata disease's passage up to the present to today's youth. The only thing that I can do is to leave behind these photographs."

Excerpts from the author's afterword,
The Minamata Disaster (Fujiwara-shoten, 2013)

Shisei Kuwabara, born in Shimane Prefecture in 1936. Kuwabara graduated from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and the Tokyo College of Photography in 1960. He started his career as a photojournalist working on the Minamata Disease Case. Other documentaries include the decline of the Chikuho Coal Mine, Korean society during the turbulent years of the 60's, Vietnam (1967 – 1975), and the attempted coup d'état in Moscow in August 1991. He has published numerous photo books and received several awards including the prestigious Domon Ken Award this April for his ongoing documentary on the Minamata Disease. The Kuwabara Shisei Photographic Museum was established in his hometown of Tsuwano in 1997.

The Exhibitions Committee


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