Photo Town Manifesto

People are moved by encounters with nature, culture, and other people. If a camera is brought into these encounters, it brings out their eternal qualities and makes it possible to share the excitement with other people. These photographic encounters generate stories that celebrate humanity and extol nature. With a camera, anyone can turn into a poet or become capable of wordless communication.

In order to provide opportunities for the emotional excitement that comes with photography, we the residents of Higashikawa hope to create a new world that embodies the best of the four seasons in our town, to build a community with heart that is open to the people of the world and a place that is truly photogenic. Our town is located on a blessed spot of earth, and we want to preserve forever our spectacular scenery and magnificent natural environment, with its abundant flora and fauna, as well as the wonderful local customs and spiritual qualities that we have inherited from our ancestors and continue to cultivate together.

Here and now, we announce the birth of Photo Town Higashikawa to our friends around the world.

June 1, 1985
Higashikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido

Declaring Higashikawa the Culture Capital of Photography

Declaration of Intent

Japan has been facing two opposite tendencies – a population decrease and overpopulation at the same time. In order to become a strong and decentralized multipolar society, Higashikawa is aiming to develop the local culture of photography.

Higashikawa is a place of just the right size, where:
* Symbiotic society is constructed and rich natural resources used with
* Culture of photography and other local characteristics being promoted
– Local and global network are connected

Declaration of Intent

The purpose is to become the center of photo culture and link photography and people across the world, keeping in mind our motto “Take a picture, Save the picture, Share it with others”.

Background and Achievements

  • Higashikawa was declared the Town of Photography in 1985. Photography has been present in people’s lives and human resource development for over 30 years.
  • Over the last 30 years, Higashikawa has opened the Public Gallery as well as held a variety of photography-related events, such as the Higashikawa International Photo Festival and the National High School Photo Competition (Shashin Koshien).
  • Higashikawa maintains the Higashikawa Collection (original prints of Higashikawa Prize winners’ works), books, cameras and other photography-related materials.
  • Over the last 30 years, Higashikawa has participated in exchanges with people all over the world in promoting the culture of photography.
  • Higashikawa, the Culture Capital of Photography

In 1985, we declared Higashikawa the Town of Photography, where emotion is born through nature meeting people; people meeting culture; and people meeting each other, and since then we have been promoting Higashikawa through photo culture. Over the last 30 years, it has been a great honor to contribute to the culture of photography.

We hope that through the culture of photography we can make Higashikawa a place to gather photography of the world, meet people from across the world, and see smiling faces from around the world.

We can be proud that Higashikawa, a place of delicious water, fresh air, and rich land, has a 30 year-long history of photo culture. Celebrating 120 years of resource development of our land, we hope to make Higashikawa a place of balance and harmony. Keeping in mind our motto “Take a picture, Save the picture, Share it with others” and with the determination to link photography and people across the world, we declare Higashikawa the Culture Capital of Photography.

March 2014