Past Exhibition

Ishiuchi Miyako  “Ginza was my first Tokyo”

Ishiuchi Miyako “Ginza was my first Tokyo”

Duration: August 29 (Tue) - October 15 (Sun) , 2023

「石内都 初めての東京は銀座だった」展示風景

The Shiseido Gallery is excited to present “Ginza was my first Tokyo,” a new exhibition of work by Ishiuchi Miyako, one of Japan’s leading international photographers. The exhibition will run from Tuesday 29 August to Sunday 15 October 2023.

A nexus for all things cutting-edge, from products to people, the Ginza district of Tokyo, where Shiseido began, has always embodied modernity, eagerly embracing new cultural trends while successfully upholding tradition. Web Hanatsubaki, the online edition of Shiseido’s corporate cultural magazine Hanatsubaki, ran the acclaimed “An Exploration of Modern Ginza” series of musings on the district’s past and present. The second chapter, titled “Ginza Ballad” (June 2022–May 2023)* was born out of stories woven by Morioka Yoshiyuki in response to Ishiuchi’s photographs reflecting the memories of objects.
This exhibition presents around 30 original prints from among the photographs taken by Ishiuchi for “Ginza Ballad,” including a number on public view for the first time.

Ishiuchi first visited Ginza in the spring of 1962, at the age of fifteen. Her aunt, a Tokyo bus conductor, had offered to take the young girl to one of the jazz cafes fashionable at the time. Ishiuchi would later make her way to Ginza to see movies, or to buy art supplies during her college days. Ginza is also where she exhibited works from the early photo book trilogy comprising Yokosuka Story (1977), APARTMENT (1978) and Endless Night (1980) that launched her career as a photographer.

In addition to objects with a personal connection to Ishiuchi, such as still-treasured records by a singer she visited Ginza to hear, and paint manufactured and sold during the war by art supply store Gekkoso, the “Ginza Ballad” series features items symbolic of stores integral to the cultural fabric of Ginza. These include Hanatsubaki, Shiseido’s first commercial venture into perfume; a “sukajan” bomber jacket made using kimono offered by geisha from Ginza and Shinbashi, and fabric in the Shinbashi blue loved by Meiji-era entertainers; a takohiki knife from Ginza Sushiko Honten, antique buttons from Mitake Buttons, tempura from Ginza Ten-Ichi, zori sandals from Ginza Motoji, scissors used by tailors Ichibankan, hats from Ginza Vogue, and rice-filled omelette from the Shiseido Parlour.

Over her years as a photographer, Ishiuchi’s ideas around photography have evolved in various ways. She notes that these days she is more accepting of the part played by photography in documenting and communicating, something she felt a degree of resistance to in her early career, and now seeks greater freedom in her photographic ventures. In the items here that Ishiuchi has photographed in this spirit, perhaps we will perceive techniques, traditions, and pride of particular resonance, that we will want to remember forever.

2023 marks a century since the capital was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake. Throughout its history, Ginza has also served as a symbol of rebirth and recovery in the wake of catastrophic disaster and war. Now the streets of Ginza have begun to bustle once more, including with visitors from overseas. As we take in the many different items captured by Ishiuchi Miyako in the ever-evolving district of Ginza, and turn our imaginations to their myriad memories and the tales they have to tell, “Ginza was my first Tokyo” will no doubt be a delightful reminder of just what makes Ginza so special.

*Web Hanatsubaki’s “Ginza Ballad” series

Ishiuchi Miyako

Born 1947 in Kiryu, Gunma; raised in Yokosuka, Kanagawa. In 1979, Ishiuchi received the 4th Kimura Ihei Memorial Photography Award for Apartment, one of her early trilogy of works. Following “1・9・4・7,” a series of closeups of the hands and feet of women born in the same year as her, she moved on to closeups of scars on the human body. Ishiuchi came to international attention in 2005 as Japanese representative at the 51st Venice Biennale, where she exhibited “Mother’s 2000-2005: Traces of the Future” consisting of photographs of her late mother’s belongings. Her ongoing “ひろしま/hiroshima” series capturing possessions of people killed by the atomic bomb has also earned worldwide acclaim since its launch in 2007, and recent years have seen her stage numerous shows at museums and galleries both at home in Japan, and further afield. In 2014 she received the Hasselblad Award, seen as the Nobel Prize equivalent in the photography world. In 2015 the “Hiroshima” series caused a sensation on its American debut, her “Postwar Shadows” exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Ishiuchi’s activities have made her a leader among female artists, and alongside her works, her unwavering determination to live in a manner true to herself resonates with people from all walks of life.
In 2018 she moved from Yokohama back to her birthplace of Kiryu, where continuing her practice, she ponders the future of photography.
Shiseido has previously showcased Ishiuchi’s work at 2005’s “Timeless encounters in the photography of Miyako Ishiuchi” (House of Shiseido *now closed), and “Ishiuchi Miyako: Frida is” at the Shiseido Gallery in 2016.

Gekkoso oil paint, 2022

Gekkoso oil paint, 2022

Ginza sukajan, 2022

Ginza sukajan, 2022

Mitake Buttons of Ginza, 2022

Mitake Buttons of Ginza, 2022

Hanatsubaki perfume, 2022

Hanatsubaki perfume, 2022

Ishiuchi Miyako: Ginza was my first Tokyo

Organizer Shiseido Company, Ltd.
Dates August 29 (Tue)–October 15 (Sun) 2023
Venue Shiseido Gallery
Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building B1F, 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-3572-3901 Fax 03-3572-3951 
Hours Weekdays 11am–7pm
Sundays and holidays 11am–6pm
Closed Mondays
Admission free

Cooperation by The Third Gallery Aya
Special thanks to Morioka Yoshiyuki

Related events: Information will be posted on the Shiseido Gallery website as it becomes available

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