Kyotographie 2019: the vibe of Japan’s new era

The Kyoto photographic festival endeavours to take the pulse of the country. From an examination of the elderly from the perspective of a bento box delivery man, to ancient erotic art and a humorous look at the ideals of 50s America, Karin Andreasson picks out some of the highlights

Kyoto’s annual photographic festival, coinciding with the start of Japan’s new imperial era, will attempt to read the country’s mood and expose its hidden problems.

On 1 May Japan enters the Reiwa era. Depending on how you read it it is either a welcome break from the past, marked by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, or a sign of an increasingly authoritarian dominance (Rei stands for order, which comes with militaristic overtones and Wa means harmony).

Ibasyo, self-harm among young people in Japan, 2007.

Akane, 26, has had depression and self-harmed for more than four years.

Kosuke Okahara installation.

Teppei Kaneuji’s exuberant Splash Factory is installed in an old newspaper printing works.

Teppei Kaneuji’s Paper and Liquid #1, 2018-2019.

Light Snow in Spring by Keisai Eisen, 1822.

Kaitlin John 2015, and Yumiko Ana 2017 by Pierre Sernet. The French performance artist’s work has been exhibited with the shunga art.

Images from the Trace series examine the idealised postwar American family.

Ehrhardt in Ryosokuin tatami room overlooking Chisenkaiyushiki garden.

Ehrhardt’s Ripple marks in the ground, 1933–36, and Halite, Wieliczka, Poland, 1938-39.

Atsushi Fukushima’s Box Lunch is Ready.

The fate of the elderly is examined by Fukushima’s series.

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