no vacuum

The way to keep up with Osaka’s Vacuum Press is via its website. Obvious but wrong: while the website sleeps, Vacuum is pressing out more books. Two are Noguchi Yasuko, The noon moon; and Abe Jun, 2001. I haven’t yet seen either, but both are described at Japan Exposures.

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little Watabe show and more

The top page of Morioka Shoten currently tells us (my translation):

14 January (Mon) – 19 January (Sat)
Exhibition of photographs by Watabe Yūkichi, “Alaska Eskimo”
In this exhibition we’re showing original vintage prints from the series “Alaska Eskimo” (Asahi Sonorama Sensho 20, Asahi Sonorama, 1979) by Watabe Yūkichi, who became much talked about with “Criminal Investigation”.

A postcard elaborates slightly. The prints are from the Asahi Sonorama archives, and are for sale. The hours are 13:00 to 20:00.

Here‘s a map to the refreshingly solid building that houses this and other small galleries.

It’s a bookshop. If you go there, take a look at the book selection, which probably includes items you haven’t seen elsewhere. Don’t miss Mr Morioka’s own book Books on Japan 1931–1972 (日本の対外宣伝グラフ誌), a book that’s all in Japanese but is lavishly illustrated, about books and magazines for the export market.

That said, this is sad. Such an archive should instead have been kept together and sold to a library or museum.

From 21 January to 3 February both Place M and M2 will be devoted to Kurata Seiji‘s “Trans Asia, again”. And the great man will talk (in Japanese, of course) with Seto Masato there on the evening of 2 February. Numbers are limited, there’s a charge, a reservation is essential, and I expect that details will soon appear here.

I picked up my copy of Abe Jun’s Black and white note 2 (黒白ノート2) today, and yes it’s as good as it’s cracked up to be.


Abe Jun’s Manila

John Sypal has just posted an excellent (and excellently illustrated) review of Manila (マニラ) by Abe Jun (阿部淳). Abe’s 2009 book Citizens / Shimin (市民) wasn’t totally unexpected, as his 1989 book Creatures (or Creaturers) had appeared in the pre–Parr ’n’ Badger photobook-book Shashin o yomu: Besuto 338 kanzen gaido (写真を読む ベスト338完全ガイド, vol. 1, p.157). But Citizens was certainly one of the best photobooks of the decade (though of course insuffiently bland, pretty or blank to be modish). John wrote an early review of Citizens and one of Abe’s Kokubyaku nōto (黒白ノート).

I often disagree with John but not when he’s writing about Abe. And when we disagree he may well be right and anyway he’s worth reading. Plus he takes lots of good photos.