Japan’s Hidden Beauty revealed in pictures

Islamabad – Black-and-white photographs of Kijuro Yahagi, a Japanese photographer, may not have the eye-catching luster, but the pictures reveal Japan’s true beauty hidden in nature. The window to Japan’s beauty is accessible for Pakistanis, as the photographs by Kijuro Yahagi have been put on display at National Art Gallery, Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) on Wednesday. The travelling exhibition has toured China, Canada, France, Iran, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam, and USA.
The exhibition introduces 85 black-and-white photographs selected from the book “Hidden Japan– Shizen ni Hisomu Nihon”, a collection of photographs taken by Kijuro Yahagi. Yahagi undertook a valuable journey throughout Japan and travelled 20000 kilometres visiting places such as Tokyo, Fukuoka, Nagasaki prefecture to explore the true Japan. Yahagi has explained his work in these words:
“In gazing at the nature of Japan as it is, the present state of the country emerges through my photographs.” 
The exhibition titled “Hidden Japan” was organised by Embassy of Japan and the Japan Foundation, in collaboration with PNCA. Mr. Akira Kono, Charge d’Affaires of Embassy of Japan inaugurated the exhibition, while Tauqeer Nasir, Director General PNCA and Musarrat Nahid, Director Visual Arts PNCA were also present. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Akira Kono said that “the photographer has interspersed surrealism in such a way that even the ordinary elements of nature have become significant.” The photographs “capture the images that are centered on the mixing of nature’s elements into modern Japanese life, and at times into cosmopolitan aspect of the country” he added. 

Toshikazu Isomura, Counsellor of Embassy of Japan said that “the images not only reflect a modern Japan but also the strong ties of Japanese people with nature.”

Yahagi’s collection of hidden Japan represents two diverse aspects of Japan. The modern Japan includes buildings, modern architecture, and city road networks. While the traditional aspect comprise of temples, landscapes, rock gardens, mountains, traditional Japanese architecture. Each exhibited picture brings to the surface glimpses of various aspects of Japan. 

Yahagi’s photographs demonstrate an intense relation of human and nature. The mountains, fields, dam, river, trees in the picture, on one hand, reflect Japanese people’s creativity and their intense adoration of nature. Whereas the same picture also illustrates the scenes of destruction of nature, as in the words of Yahagi: “I could almost hear the sad voice of nature when he witnessed the scars left by construction projects.” 

The most striking images include fields surrounded by mountains, fishermen’s houses surrounding a small harbour, houses on the side of a mountain that has been cleared, large city full of hurrying pedestrians and traffic jams. During his journey, what surprised him most was the fact that no matter how small the mountain or fishing village, there was sure to be a temple, shrine, or statue of guardian deity of children. 

Yahagi, has won numerous prestigious awards both in Japan and abroad. “Hidden Japan” collection obtained Silver prize from New York’s Art Directors Club in 1995. The exhibition would remain open for public from 17 November till 27 December, from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Monday and public holidays.
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