The Domestic Photographer Award

Lives in Okinawa Prefecture

Reason for award

For her exhibition “Ishikawa Mao — What can I do? —” (Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, 2023)

Born in Ogimi village, Okinamawa in 1953.  Started taking photographs in the 1970s and studied photography at Tomatsu Shomei class at the Workshop Photography School in 1974.  Since then, based in Okinawa, she has produced pictures of people from there closely. Her major exhibitions include “The women of Kin” (Minolta Photo Space/Tokyo, 1977), ”Philippines” ”A Port Town Elegy” respectively in1989 and 1990 in Naha Civic Gallery, Okinawa, “Sachiko Nakada’s Theatre Company”(Ryubo Hall, Okinawa, 1991).  Joined special exhibitions in and outside Japan in the 2000s.  The major ones include “Keep In Touch: Positions in Japanese Photography” (Kunsthause Graz, Austria, 2003), “Non-Sect / Radical Modern Photography III” (Yokohama Museum of Art, 2004), “The Perpetual Moment-Visions from within Okinawa and Korea, MoMA PS1, America), “Okinawa Prismed 1872-2008” (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo). 

Won the Sagamihara City Photo Award for “FENCES, OKINAWA” in 2011.  Held a photo exhibition “The Great Ryukyu Photo Scroll, part1” in Naha Civic Gallery in 2014 and has produced and presented this series annually since then.  Was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Photographic Society of Japan in 2019.  Has continued to work enthusiastically and held “Bad Ass and Beauty-One Love by Mao Ishikawa” (Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum, 2021) and “Ishikawa Mao-What can I do?” (Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2023).  Won the Art Encouragement Award of the Ministry of Education and the 43rd Domon Ken Award in 2024.  She is to participate in Busan Biennale 2024 and “LIFE2: Everything is Your Future” (Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto). 

Her major works include “The women of Kin”, 1977), “Hot Days in Camp Hansen!!”(1982), “Philippines”(1989), A Port Town Elegy”(1990), “Sachiko Nakada’s Theatre Company”(1991) , Okinawa and the Japanese Self Defense forces”(1995), “U.S. Forces in Okinawa” (1996), “U.S. military marine helicopter base in the sea” (1998),  “Here’s What the Japanese Flag Means to Me”(1999), “The Great Ryukyu Photo Scroll parts 1-10” (2014~2023). She presents photographs widely in and around Japan and many of her works are stored in public collections in the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum as well as the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Yokohama Museum of Art, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston ( the U.S.), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the U.S.).


Artist Statements

Thank you very much for awarding me the 40th Higashikawa Award for the Town of Photography. Having being based in Okinawa for over 50 years, this award is a great encouragement to me as I continue to photograph this region. I will continue to capture Okinawa in the future, so I appreciate your continued support.


Uchinaa Shibai (Okinawa Play): A Story of NAKADA Sachiko's Theater Company
Haebaru Town (Tsukazan Community Center), June 1981
Uchinaa Shibai (Okinawa Play): A Story of NAKADA Sachiko's Theater Company
NAKADA Sachiko (1933-) is the chairperson of Deigo-za Theater Company.
She excels in performing comedic roles c. 1978
A Port Town Elegy
Uchinaa Shibai (Okinawa Play): Great Actors
The Great Ryukyu Photo Scroll

Part 1-22
“Don’ t bring misfortunes to Okinawa!”
A kaminchu (Okinawan priestess) prays towards Japan.
The Great Ryukyu Photo Scroll

Part 9-23
“Living as biracial (mixed-roots) in Okinawa”
[OYAFUSO Daisuke (age 41), Ai (age 39), Tiiida (age 11), Yun- ta (age 10), Ninufa (age 6), Kanayooo (age 3)]