The Pencil of the Sun


12/11/2015 - 1/24/2016
Gallery hours:11:00-19:00
Closed on Monday,Tuesday
*The Gallery will be closed for the year-end and New Year holidays from 12/28 to 1/5.
*The Gallery will be close 11th January, that days is public holiday.

Akio Nagasawa Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of “Pencil of the Sun”,
an exhibition of leading postwar Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu’s works.

With such series as “Senryo” (Occupation), in which he illustrated his observations of postwar Japan through people and landscapes at US military bases, or ”11:02 NAGASAKI”, a series of photographs commemorating the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Tomatsu has cemented his role as a leading figure in postwar Japanese photography – constantly exploring the medium’s possibilities with a sharp glance also at the general signs of the times.

Pencil of the Sun
This series is rated as one of the most essential in Shomei Tomatsu’s entire body of work.
While Tomatsu’s photographs cover a wide variety of subjects, Okinawa is one particular theme that he has been going back to time and again throughout his life. Having been fascinated by that place’s strong and broad mental horizon resisting Americanization ever since his first visit to Okinawa in 1969, in this series Tomatsu energetically portrays the brave lives of the local people at the mercy of history until reversion to Japanese administration after decades of American occupation, with a focus on the rites and customs of the Yaeyama Islands and Miyako-jima.
These observations have been highly evaluated as a photographic investigation into the foundations of Southeast Asian island culture in the Pacific rim even beyond the confines of Japan.


Born 1930 in Aichi. Has been taking photographs while still enrolled at Aichi University. Moved to Tokyo after graduation, where he embarked on his career as a photographer for Iwanami Shashin Bunko.
He established the agency “VIVO” with the likes of Ikko Narahara and Eikoh Hosoe in 1959, was involved in the “WORKSHOP Photo School” founded together with Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki in 1974, and went on to become a leading figure in post-war Japanese photography. The “Senryo” (Occupation) series focusing on people and landscapes at and around military bases, or ”11:02 NAGASAKI” (1966), a series of photos commemorating the atomic bombing, showcase his sharp observations of the signs of the times, while at once exploring the possibilities of photography.
Following his encounter with Okinawa in 1969, Tomatsu shifted the focus of his interest from military bases to expressions of abundant nature, manners and customs, and published the photo book Taiyo no enpitsu (Pencil of the Sun) (1975). Since 1999 he has been pursuing his lively photographic endeavors while based at once in Nagasaki and Okinawa. Main solo exhibitions include “Traces: 50 Years of Tomatsu's Work” at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (1999), “Tomatsu Shomei no shashin 1972-2002” exhibition at The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (2003), and “Tomatsu Shomei: Photographs” at Nagoya City Art Museum (2011), as well as numerous exhibitions overseas, such as “Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation”, which traveled around the USA and Europe until 2007 after its opening at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2004.
He died of pneumonia in 2012.


Pencil of the Sun:New Edition

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2-Volume Set : Pencil of the Sun 1975, Pencil of the Sun 2015

The Pencil of the Sun 1975 257×227mm|280page|contain 228 photos
The Pencil of the Sun 2015 257×227mm|152page|contain 103 photos
Writing & Editing : Toshiharu Ito, Ryuta Imafuku
Art Direction : Kazuya Kondo