JAPAN: Nature and Culture for the Future - Exhibition

Icon of exhibition
Katsura: The photographs of Ishimoto Yasuhiro

Photo taken by Ishimoto Yasuhiro
Photograph copyright © Ishimoto Yasuhiro

The Katsura Detached Palace was originally built as the villa of the Hachijonomiya family (later the Katsuranomiya family) on the west bank of the Katsura River on the western outskirts of Kyoto in the early Edo period (17th century). The villa maintains the traditions of Japanese architecture, namely, simplicity and harmony with nature, in the composition of the Shoin-style buildings based on straight lines, the diagonal arrangement of its buildings, and the rhythmical arrangement of the stepping stones along the path.

The photographer, Ishimoto Yasuhiro, was given the Person of Cultural Merit Award by the Japanese Government.  Born in San Francisco, he studied at the Chicago Institute of Design (commonly known as the New Bauhaus), trained by Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. He set out on his first job to photograph the Katsura Detached Palace in the same year as he came back to Japan, in 1953.

The villa reminded Ishimoto of the essence of modern design with which he was familiar. The photographs that resulted were controlled, straightforward works, and the forms of the “things” and the formal viewpoint that sought the pure handling of the relationship between “thing” and “thing”--an almost firm, dry sensation--were striking, especially the sense of strain that these elements brought to the photographs.

This exhibition presents Ishimoto’s attempt to liberate tradition through a contemporary viewpoint. We hope this exhibition will offer all viewers a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of a traditional Japanese palace rediscovered by a great Japanese photographer.


Chicago, IL

February 18 - March 7, 2010 
(Monday - Thursday 8:30am-6:00pm, Friday & Saturday 8:30am-5:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm-6:00pm)


Illinois Institute of Technology
Paul V. Galvin Library
35 W. 33rd Street, Chicago, IL




Consulate General of Japan at Chicago 
(Japan Information Center) 1-312-280-0430  E-mail

Washington, DC

Thursday, March 18 &  Friday, March 19
Time TBD


Embassy of Japan, old residence of ambassador & tea house
2520 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
For details visit

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