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Shisei Kuwabara

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Shisei Kuwabara

Shisei Kuwabara is a photographer unlike any other. While most like taking pictures of sights and people, he turned his camera to Minamata residents who suffered from mercury poisoning for over four decades.
After graduating from the Tokyo Photo School in 1960, Kuwabara started his journey to Minamata. He asked permission to from Dr. Noboru Ohashi, the director of the Minamata Municipal Hospital, to chronicle the live of the victims.
In 1962, he presented the shocking images at his exhibit entitled “Minamata-byo” or Minamata’s disease. For this moving display he was given the Newcomer’s Award by the Japan Photo Critics Association.
Apart from the aforementioned laurel, he was also given the Kodansha Award in 1965, the Annual Award from the Photographic Society of Japan in 1971, and the Ina Nobuo Prize in 1982.
Kuwabara has also published a number of photo books, such as “The Collage of Living People” in 1980, “Korea’s Original Scenes” in 1986, “Russia: a sick, great nation” in 1995.
Many of Kuwabara’s works can be found in his birthplace of Tsuwano. Because of his large number of images the Tsuwano Documentary Photograph Gallery was renamed to Shisei Kuwabara Photographic Museum in 2004.


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