Tag Archives: Hagiwara Hiroko

Photo of the Week: HAGIWARA Hiroko and FUKUZAWA Junko

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_SOCIAL_ICONS]

Laurie says:

..
This photo of Hagiwara Hiroko and Junko Fukazawa is from my Women of Japan project.

FUKUZAWA Junko

In summer of 1985 we traveled Europe together. We visited art galleries to see works produced by women artists whom we had listed based on our joint research.

Somewhere in Eastern Europe we became acquainted with a couple from Spain and had a meal with them. When we said we had been friends for twenty-five years, the combination of the length of time and our Asian faces seemed to cause them some confusion. The couple quizzically asked us if we met at the age of five. Twenty years have passed since the tour to Europe.

I tell her what I see, think and find out in my everyday life. Minute or even trivial discoveries are sometimes interesting and valuable. I appreciate the fact that I can talk about such small but precious experiences of mine, to the same person who has listened to me for decades.

Laurie’s shooting session started from her hotel room. We went out to the park and stopped at several points for Laurie to take pictures. Our walking pace slowed down and the phrases we exchanged became shorter. I climbed up a pine tree. My friend was on the ground below me. I just saw her back. We both looked at Laurie’s camera. Laurie was looking up at me.

(translation by Hagiwara Hiroko)

HAGIWARA Hiroko

When I met her at the age of twelve, she was taller than me by over forty centimeters. I thought the world must be seen rather differently from forty centimeters higher. Thereafter, the height difference became a bit smaller. But our lives have followed different paths for over forty years since then, which have produced enormous differences.

We posed for Edison together to be photographed. Approximately one hundred pictures were taken. A year later Edison showed me the shot which she had selected and I accepted it as a matter of fact.

I called her and asked to guess which shot had been selected. She answered without delay, ‘It should be the one with us and the pine tree in the park.’ She can see what I cannot see. Is it because she has seen the world from a higher point of view or is it because our lives have been different? Can this question be answered?

It is remarkable that Edison chose the photograph that represents such differences between us besides our decades-long friendship.

(translation by Hagiwara Hiroko)

深澤純子
1985年夏、少ない資料から女性画家を探し出して作ったリストを携えて、ヨーロッパの美術館を二人で訪ね歩き、その作品を見て存在を確認して きた。レストランで同席したスペインから来た夫婦に「あなたたちはいつから友達?」と聞かれて、「25年前から」と答えたら、「え、じゃ5歳のときか ら?」と驚かれてしまった。それももう20年前。
私が生活の中で、経験し、考え、発見したことを彼女に伝える。微細なことほど貴重で、一見くだらないことほど、面白い発見だったりする。長い年月、ぶれることのない同じ相手に自分を伝えられることは、人生において、どれほど幸運なことであるか、はかり知れない。
撮影は、ホテルのローリーの部屋から始まり、公園のあちこちで続けられた。だんだんと3人の歩くペースがゆっくりとなり、おしゃべりも短いフ レーズになってくる。私は木に登ってみた。私の前には彼女がいるが、彼女の顔は見えない。二人の視線の先は、ローリーの持つカメラだ。ローリーが見上げて いる。

萩原弘子
初めて会ったのが12歳。そのときの身長差は40センチ以上だったのではないだろうか。私より40センチも高いところから見ると、世界はずいぶ ん違って見えるだろうと思ったものだ。身長差はその後ほんの少し縮まったものの、あれから40年の人生は、別のものをそれぞれのなかに積もらせてきた。
そんな2人がそろってエディソンの被写体になり、さまざまなロケーションで100枚近くが撮影された。1年後、エディソンが選んだ1枚を、まず私だけが見る機会があった。どの1枚になるか、予測する根拠もなければ勘も働かなかった私は、ただ「これなのか」と思った。
まだ見ていない彼女に電話して、どのショットが選ばれたと思うかと尋ねると、「公園の松の枝で撮った1枚でしょ」とあっさり答えが返ってきた。 私には見えないものが見えるのは、10代の頃から、私より40センチ高い視点で遠くを見晴るかしてきたからなのか、それともその後の40年の人生の違いな のかは、なんともわからない。
エディソンの1枚には、長年の友人関係に加えて、そんな違いまでも写っているのが驚きである。

萩原弘子
初めて会ったのが12歳。そのときの身長差は40センチ以上だったのではないだろうか。私より40センチも高いところから見ると、世界はずいぶ ん違って見えるだろうと思ったものだ。身長差はその後ほんの少し縮まったものの、あれから40年の人生は、別のものをそれぞれのなかに積もらせてきた。

そんな2人がそろってエディソンの被写体になり、さまざまなロケーションで100枚近くが撮影された。1年後、エディソンが選んだ1枚を、まず私だけが見る機会があった。どの1枚になるか、予測する根拠もなければ勘も働かなかった私は、ただ「これなのか」と思った。

まだ見ていない彼女に電話して、どのショットが選ばれたと思うかと尋ねると、「公園の松の枝で撮った1枚でしょ」とあっさり答えが返ってきた。 私には見えないものが見えるのは、10代の頃から、私より40センチ高い視点で遠くを見晴るかしてきたからなのか、それともその後の40年の人生の違いな のかは、なんともわからない。

エディソンの1枚には、長年の友人関係に加えて、そんな違いまでも写っているのが驚きである。

Hagiwara Hiroko: Pictures of Diversity?

Hagiwara Hiroko has recently written an introduction to Women of Japan.   A dean and professor at Osaka Prefecture University, she is a feminist scholar and activist who who has written extensively on issues of gender, race, art and history in the context of cultural and women’s studies.

As one of the first women I photographed for the Women of Japan project, she was involved from the beginning.  She came on several shoots to translate and to thoughtfully participate in the process.  Our conversations over the years about the concepts involved in the project were invaluable in shaping it.  As part of the project’s Models Words texts she wrote this about being photographed.

She has recently written an introduction to Women of Japan,  Pictures of Diversity? (Both the English and Japanese are on the site).

The quotes below from her essay reflect her thoughts about the project on issues of diversity and multiculturalism.

Women of Japan is a series of forty black and white photographs of women from different backgrounds taken by the American photographer Laurie Toby Edison during her three visits to Japan from 1998 to 2007. The title Women of Japan was chosen as a counter-framework to the phrase ‘Japanese women.’ The photographer intends to resist the idea that women who are of ‘this society’ are ‘real, native and authentic Japanese women endowed with essential characteristics guaranteed by blood and culture, and who have the legal status of the Japanese national.’

…The women in Edison’s photographs are from diverse backgrounds. There are Korean, American, Ainu, Okinawan women and women from ‘Buraku’ area s which are the target of ongoing discrimination. Their cultural backgrounds and their legal status are different. They are of different generations, ranging from their twenties to nineties. They have different occupations such as dancer, teacher, politician, artist, writer, truck driver, scholar, and student. Their concerns and passions are also diverse. They have different standpoints on femininity and being a woman. They are all socially positioned as women but viewers of these works will first of all be impressed with the diversity of women in Women of Japan.

The concept of diversity, however, is not as simple as it looks, and is not easy for any photographer to represent. Edison reached every model through the networks of various women’s communities. Many of the models were introduced or recommended by someone who had posed for Edison. It was a laborious but pleasurable process for the photographer, who speaks little Japanese, to get acquainted with women from various communities in Japan. Nothing was planned for the shoots; one encounter led to another in the process of creating the series.

…Since the 1980s, when people’s mobility across borders accelerated and grew constant on the global level and highly industrialized societies became undeniably multicultural, the word ‘cultural diversity’ has been often used to represent an affirmative attitude towards the situation. Japanese society has not yet acknowledged the constant presence of foreigners in society as components of a joyous diversity. Nevertheless, no one can deny that people from diverse backgrounds work and live in Japan. People know that there are those from Japan’s ex-colonies such as Korea and China, and Japanese-Brazilians, Americans, Filippinos, Iranians, Russians, Nigerians, and Bengalis to name a few. The word ‘multiculturalism’ is normally used in the context in which such multitudes must be favorably welcome and encouraged. I want to question whether Edison’s work Women of Japan can be positioned in that context.If we examine this question carefully, the answer in my view is ‘no.’ Multiculturalism is based on the assumption that each culture comprising the multitude is static and homogeneous and that multicultural society is a mosaic made of such individual components. Women in Edison’s photographs, however, are not representative of their communities. Some models wear their national costume, but they are not here as national representatives. Other models, who share a national origin or community, are in plain dress. Only one woman is in Kimono, which is generally supposed to be the Japanese national costume. Her adornment represents not Japaneseness but herself. Edison’s Women of Japan are not meant to be specimens in an ethnological museum. Cultures are fluid and always mingling to generate something new. While the legal system tries to demarcate the border, to maintain homogeneity within the borderline, and to exclude the extraneous that looks uncontrollable, people meet and cultures mix. People’s cultural identities become hybridized. The words ‘multi’ and ‘multiple’ are based on the idea of countability. Edison’s photographs convey that this is a site of exchange and mingling of people and cultures and that diverse women, whose physical expressions and postures are inscribed with this experience, live in Japan.

Women of Japan photos are here.  The front photo is of Hagiwara Hiroko and her best friend Fukazawa Junko.