The Higashikawa Awards 受賞者

The Overseas Photographer Award

Lives in Hanoi, Vietnam

The Domestic Photographer Award

Lives in Tokyo

The New Photographer Award

Lives in Tokyo

The Special Photographer Award

Lives in Kyoto Prefecture

The Hidano Kazuemon Award

Lives in Nagano Prefecture

The Jury Committee of the 38th Higashikawa Awards

Anju <Photographer>
UENO Osamu <Photo Critic>
KAMIYAMA Ryoko <Curator, Japanese postwar art history >
KITANO Ken <Photographer>
KURAISHI Shino <Photo Critic, Poet>
SHIBASAKI Tomoka <Novelist>
NIWA Harumi <Curator, Photo Critic>
HARA Koichi <Art Designer>

Commentary on the Selection of the 38th Higashikawa Photography Awards


       Selection of the 38th Town of Photography Higashigawa Award was carried out on March 2, 2022. Those nominated this year include 62 photographers for the Domestic Photographer Award, 73 for the New Photographer Award, 25 for the Special Photographer Award, 38 for the Hidano Kazuemon Award, and 12 for the Overseas Photographer Award. As with previous years, the morning was spent carefully looking at photobooks and resources, while the winners of the five awards were selected in the afternoon by eight jurors from a total of 169 artists.


       For the Domestic Photographer Award, it came down to five photographers at the final stage. It was a difficult decision as the styles were so different between the final candidates, but seeing the jurors struggle with their choice happens every year. After careful deliberation and repeated voting, TAKANO Ryudai was selected. His “Daily Photographs” (deriving from taking photos everyday) takes a simple act and develops it into a complicated criticism, making his work original and powerful. His first large-scale solo exhibition “Daily Photographs 1999-2021” and collection of photo-essays “Daily Photographs” were acclaimed for their questioning of a systemized gaze, presenting wide-ranging ideas concerning photography as a medium.


       This year again saw a competitive and fierce battle for the New Photographer Award. After repeated discussion and voting, there was a close battle between KAN Mika, SASAOKA Keiko, and HAYASHI Noriko with SASAOKA Keiko coming out on top. She has been acclaimed for her intense works full of persuasive power unique to photography such as her sequentially published booklet series “SHORELINE”, which centers on the disaster areas of Sanriku and Fukushima from 2014, including the coastlines of various parts of Japan and various regionalities in the memory of the sea, as well as for “Remembrance: Sanriku, Fukushima 2011-2014”, in which she visited and photographed the Tohoku region from 2011 many times.


       The Special Photographer Award was given to Elena TUTATCHIKOVA who, after participating in the Higashikawa International Photo Festival in August, 2014, she visited Shiretoko for the first time and returned and continued fieldwork in various forms. Her works such as in the two-person exhibition “Land and Beyond” embody a style that expands from a multi-layered process that explores relationships between body, ideas, and location with Hokkaido as a theme can be said to be fitting for the Special Photographer Award.


       Hidano Kazuuemon Award was given to MIYAZAKI Manabu who was born in Minakata village (presently Nakagawa village), Kamiina district, which is located at the foot of the Central Alps in Nagano prefecture. Born in an environment full of nature, MIYAZAKI created an original style of photographing wild animals. In his exhibition “Wild Animals of Today”, we can see traces of his artist activities as well as the social message in his works. I would like to celebrate the fact that the Hidano Kazuuemon Award, which recognizes works that have photographed a region over a long period of time, has created a new dimension.


       After explanation based on careful survey by SUGANUMA Hiroshi, judging of the Overseas Photographer Award took place and eventually the award was given to Ha DAO from Vietnam. She has been comprehensively recognized for her ambitious activities including as curator and for her series of works that uses photography to explore social and personally definitions of principles such as gender and identity, as well as changes of culture such as “The Mirror”, “Forget Me Not”, and “All Things Considered”.


       Following last year’s edition which was held during a State of Emergency due to COVID-19, this year’s competition was held during quasi-emergency measures, so preventative measures such as wearing masks during judging was implemented. Higashikawa made the “Declaration of Town of Photography” in 1985, followed by the “Declaration as a Cultural Capital Town of Photography” in 2014, and it is due to the town’s strong position that cultural activities should not be considered as non-essential and non-urgent that this year’s competition could take place in the same fashion as last year despite the pandemic. The events and ceremonies are the climax of the Higashikawa International Photo Festival, and they are only made possible due to the daily endeavor and empathy of the people of Higashikawa town. We would like to express our deepest gratitude for their support.

Osamu Ueno
Higashikawa Photography Award Jury Committee