Kojima Ichiro (1924-1964)
Kojima (b. 1924, Aomori, Japan) served the war effort in China during World War II and returned to his homeland, Aomori, in 1946. Having passed through several jobs, he began to help out in the family business, a photographic equipment shop. He participated in an amateur photography group (Hokuyoukai), and began to make extensive photographic work during this time. His short, decade long span of activity until his death in 1964 at the young age of 40 has left a noteworthy legacy in photographic history. Tsugaru, the series in this exhibition, was shot during Kojima’s first four years as a photographer; it may be said that it was during this time he worked on Tsugaru where Kojima developed his characteristic printing technique.
“For Kojima, Tsugaru’s farming and fishing villages represented by Jyusanmura was symbolic of the decadent exhaustion that was modernization in postwar Japan. Perhaps what Kojima saw the fact that he saw the image of “his returnee self” within these scenes and the subliminal experience of saving himself from the gloom of destruction amidst the ruins of Tsugaru Fields, as a pertaining point in the necessity of shooting Tsugaru. To Kojima, this was embodied in the selective angles, calculated composition, and delicate handling of the prints in the darkroom, which manifest on the photographic paper…The images of what drew Kojima back to life—the nature and the farmers who inhabit Tsugaru, are photographically transcribed here on the photographic paper with the same impact that hit Kojima himself. This must have been his experiment in Tsugaru.”