Fifty Years of Shōwa Japan: The Photography of Kageyama Kōyō

On View February 7 – June 28, 2015

Photo by Kageyama Koyo

The photographs of Kageyama Kōyō (1907–1981) document the changing urban landscape of Tokyo during the Shōwa imperial period (1926–1989). Kageyama captured scenes of the city as it rebuilt after the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, underwent militarization in the 1930s, endured the years of World War II and its aftermath, and as it developed into a global metropolis. Simultaneously, and with special poignancy, Kageyama recorded intimate and heartbreaking moments in his family’s life. He also used his camera to draw attention to the pressing social issues of the day—the neglect of war veterans, for example; and the demonstrations against the Mutual Security Treaty in 1960.

This exhibition features the Mead’s collection of photographs by Kageyama Kōyō that reflect the changing face of Tokyo—especially the people on the street—from the 1920s to the 1970s. Representing the only significant collection of Kageyama photographs in the United States, the images on display offer a rarely seen view of Japan, from its carefree dancing couples before the war to its forgotten veterans and malnourished children after.

Organized by Samuel C. Morse, Howard M. and Martha P. Mitchell Professor of the History of Art and Asian Languages and Civilizations, this exhibition has been made possible through the generosity of Scott Nagle ’85, and Kageyama Tomohiro.

Annotated and Illustrated Exhibition List

Related Event

On Friday, February 6, at 5:00 p.m., celebrate the opening of Fifty Years of Shōwa Japan: The Photography of Kageyama Kōyō and Nature, Pleasure, Myth: Animals in the Art of Japan. Brief gallery tours with Samuel Morse, Howard M. and Martha P. Mitchell professor of the history of art and Asian languages and civilizations, and Bradley Bailey, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter postdoctoral curatorial teaching fellow in Japanese prints. Refreshments served.