By Tom Jacobson and Kaori Hashimoto
In 2010 Tate Modern acquired a substantial group of works of modernist Japanese photography from the collection of Tom Jacobson and Kaori Hashimoto. These works will be exhibited for the first time as part of Tate Modern’s collection displays in Spring 2011. The exhibits will include important works by Iwao Yamawaki, a Japanese architect and photographer who studied at the Bauhaus between 1930-32, where he took classes from Wassily Kandinsky and Joseph Albers amongst others. Also displayed will be other key examples of Japanese modernist photography, the work of practitioners from the 1930s to 1950s such as Fusao Hori, Kiyohiko Komura, Ryukichi Shibuya and Shikanosuke Yagaki. This major acquisition was made possible through funds allocated by the Asian Pacific Acquisitions Committee and a gift from a member of Tate Modern’s Photography Acquisition Committee.
To celebrate this significant expansion of its modern Japanese photography collection, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation was delighted to announce an event in partnership with Tate Modern. The speakers, Tom Jacobson and Kaori Hashimoto, discussed their collection and the importance of Japanese photography from this period. They were in conversation at Daiwa Foundation Japan House with Simon Baker, Curator of Photography and International Art, Tate Modern.
About the contributors
Tom Jacobson has been a vintage photography collector and historian for more than 35 years, with an emphasis upon forgotten master photographers from the first half of the 20th Century. After extensive research on Japanese American West Coast photographers from before the Second World War, he turned to art photographers active in Japan from the 1920s and 1930s. His first trip to Japan in 1985 marked the beginning of his efforts to acquire what little Japanese photography remained from that era due to the effects of war and neglect. By going through numerous vintage photographic magazines and annuals, he compiled a long list of interesting photographers. With his assistant and later partner, Kaori Hashimoto, he assembled an extraordinary collection of some of the rarest pre-war Japanese vintage photography, consisting of over 500 prints by 20 key photographers.
Kaori Hashimoto became Tom Jacobson’s assistant in 1985 and began a research and collecting adventure throughout Japan in search of vintage Japanese pre-war photography. From 1986 through 1988, she worked as chief interpreter and staff member at Gallery MIN, Tokyo, specializing in contemporary Californian photographers. She helped publish monographs and interpreted slide lectures on more than 18 photographers including, among others, Jo Ann Callis, Henry Wessel, Susan Rankaitis. Hashimoto moved to the United States in 1988 to work with Jacobson on the Japanese collection, arranging loans to exhibitions within the United States and overseas.