NIPPON JIN – Junichi's way to explain Modern Japanese People
There was a Japanese man in downtown New York, who was preparing for his exhibition “NIPPON-JIN (Modern Japanese People)” while superstorm Sandy severely affected the city. He is Junichi Takahashi, who has won fame as a portrait photographer through his 19 year career in New York. His work includes official photographer for a Off Broadway Performance STOMP, publications for Jennifer Lopez, photo DVD book for a renowned Japanese musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
He started a dual life in Tokyo and New York after he officially went back to Japan in 2004. The decision of leaving New York was
one of his challenges as a professional photographer.
Many of his friends in NY, whom he met while he was living there, came to celebrate his opening of the exhibition.
At an interview with J-Collabo he said “When I was living in New York, I was frustrated with not having being able to talk about Japan and Japanese when I was asked by New Yorkers. Then I came up with an idea of taking pictures of Japanese and showing these to New Yorkers instead of telling them how Japan and Japanese are by my words, which I thought would be the best way as a photographer.” This was a moment when his project “NIPPON-JIN”, which literally means “Japanese”, started four years ago.
When you open his recent photography “NIPPON-JIN” you can see 400 unique Japanese people inside such as a monk, a couple wearing traditional Japanese hakama and kimono for their wedding, a woman with Yoga posture and an old lady in rice field. They are 400 examples out of 12 million Japanese but each of them is thoroughly expressing themselves in a piece of photographs, which are new to even me, a Japanese native.
Junichi has realized Japan is rich in virtues, which can be distinguished from other countries; courtesy, royalty, love of nature etc. His life in New York let him notice these that he didn’t think of when he was in Japan. As an international photographer, his work is expanding year by year by looking for opportunities as a unique Japanese professional.
Even if you missed this exhibition, don’t worry about it. His next round will be at Japanese consulate in NY from February 1st to 22nd, 2013. For more details, I will keep you updated. In the mean time, it’s a sneak peak of his photos that you are going to see.