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Monday, October 11, 2010

Diplomats reveal Japan 'old and new' through lens

Japan through Diplomats' EyesTOKYO - An annual exhibition featuring photographs taken by Japan-based foreign diplomats opens in Tokyo on Oct 15, showcasing a country that is traditional, modern, beautiful and curious, from the viewfinders of keen international observers.
About 90 works submitted by 66 diplomats and family members from 40 countries will be on display at the 13th week-long exhibition, titled, ‘‘Japan ‘Old and New’ through Diplomats’ Eyes,’’ with the special theme of ‘‘takumi’’ (craftsmanship).
The Grand Prize, chosen by the show’s eight-member committee, went to Bengt Westerblad, a Swedish-born artist and husband of a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, whose photo captured a bamboo-made bud vase on a black background. In the picture, what looks like a test tube protrudes from a dark bamboo-woven ball, with a green leaf inserted into it.
The piece, which is paired with a photo of bamboo, a knife and skin, ‘‘makes us see how natural life emerges and reigns even from the simplicity of bamboo,’’ Colombian Ambassador to Japan Patricia Cardenas says in a message to the exhibition.
Cardenas, who serves as chairwoman of the exhibition’s selection committee, adds that Westerblad’s photo embodies this year’s theme.
The Prince Takamado Memorial Prize was awarded to Tomasz Kuczynski, second secretary at the Polish Embassy in Tokyo, whose photo shows the right side of an old man with a carved wooden mask covering his cheek and ear.
The picture, shot at a flower festival in Hiroshima Prefecture some years ago, shows the man and the artifact well blended together and expresses a sense of tradition, Princess Takamado, the show’s honorary president, said in picking it, according to Shinobu Abe, the committee’s secretary general.
The special prize was created in 2003 to memorialize Prince Takamado, an avid photographer who died in 2002 at age 47. Emperor Akihito’s cousin had served as the exhibition’s honorary president since its launch in 1998.
The show will run through Oct 21 at the Roppongi Hills business and commercial complex in Tokyo. It will also be held at the Central Park shopping mall in Nagoya on Nov. 19-30 and at Hyogo International Plaza in Kobe from Dec 15 to Jan 27, 2011.
Information about this event is available at http://diplomatseyes.com/

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