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Nikkei and the Financial Times co-present their first art event in three major cities

JAPAN / A Love Story 100 Photographs by Michael Kenna

Entrance to the exhibition in Tokyo

Entrance to the exhibition in Tokyo ©Tomoki Hirokawa

Nikkei and the Financial Times are presenting an exhibition of Michael Kenna's photographs, "JAPAN / A Love Story." This beautiful exhibition is visiting major cities in 2024. The first showing was held from April 17 to May 5 in Daikanyama, Tokyo. From May 11 to July 20, it is showing at the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Los Angeles, and from September 24 to October 20, it will be at Asia House, in London.

Nikkei and the FT forged a global partnership in 2015. We are best known for our business journalism and have been working closely together in this area. This exhibition is our first art event. It is a part of Nikkei's global branding initiatives. Mr. Kenna is the perfect person to convey the deep relationship between Nikkei and the FT.

Michael Kenna appeared in "JAPAN / A Love Story"

Michael Kenna

Born in 1953 in Windes, Lancashire, England, Michael Kenna has been photographing around the world for over fifty years. "On my first visit to Japan, I was blown away by the aesthetics, the spiritual and religious aspects, the curiosity of the people, their friendliness and generosity," he says. "Later, I went up to Northern Hokkaido in the middle of winter, and it looked to me like a stark sumi-e ink painting, a white canvas with Kanji characters marked on it. I've been in love with the place ever since."
Mr. Kenna landed in Japan for the first time in 1987. Since then, his in-depth explorations and imagery of Japan stand out as some of his most distinguished and well-known works. He works in the traditional, non-digital, silver photographic medium and hand crafts his prints in his own darkroom. In 2022, he was decorated Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture at the Paris Photo international art fair. He lives in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Michael Kenna's works

Michael Kenna's works ©Tomoki Hirokawa

An opening reception and a book signing are held in each city. More than 200 guests came to the opening reception in Tokyo on April 16, which was attended by Naotoshi Okada, Chairman & Group CEO of Nikkei, John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times Group, and Julia Longbottom, British Ambassador to Japan.

Mr. Okada (center) with Mr. Kenna (right)

Mr. Okada (center) with Mr. Kenna (right) ©Tomoki Hirokawa

In his opening remarks, Mr. Ridding said: "In an age of artificial intelligence, algorithms and accelerating technological change, this appreciation of timeless craft and culture is especially valuable. And while Nikkei and the FT have both embraced digital delivery our attachment to print and traditional formats runs deep.
These values are expressed perfectly in Michael's work. His deep connection with the unique scenery of Japan built over decades of discovery is clear from the images, while their depth derives from qualities of the darkroom where he continues to develop his own prints."

Mr. Kenna responded: "Japan has a long and rich tradition of reciprocal gift giving, and I have been the grateful receiver of so much over so many years here. I know that I will never be able to give back in equal amounts, but I hope this work can be seen as a small token of my desire to do so. I also hope that what you see today can be viewed as an ongoing homage to Japan, and that it will serve to symbolize my immense appreciation and deep gratitude. It has been an astonishing journey so far, for well over three decades, and long may it continue."

Mr. Ridding (right) with Mr. Kenna

Mr. Ridding (right) with Mr. Kenna ©Tomoki Hirokawa

"JAPAN / A Love Story" reception party held in Tokyo

Reception in Tokyo ©Tomoki Hirokawa

Julia Longbottom, British ambassador to Japan

Julia Longbottom, British ambassador to Japan ©Tomoki Hirokawa

The exhibition met with a very positive response in Japan, with more than 15,000 people visiting. Over half of female and 30% of male visitors were in their 20s or 30s. On book signing day, April 20, 1500 people came and enjoyed a moment with Mr. Kenna. With younger generations moving away from print newspapers, the exhibition could have a positive influence in rekindling interest in traditional media.

Autograph session for "JAPAN / A Love Story" held in Tokyo

Book signing in Tokyo

The Los Angeles reception was held on May 11. The Peter Fetterman Gallery is located in the affluent Santa Monica area of Los Angeles. The party, attended by around 100 guests, had an intimate atmosphere. Andy Summers, former guitarist of British rock band, The Police, and Naoshige Aoshima, Deputy Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, were among the attendees.

Mr. Peter Fetterman (left) and Mr. Ridding in Los Angeles

Mr. Peter Fetterman (left) and Mr. Ridding in Los Angeles

"JAPAN / A Love Story" reception party held in Los Angeles

Reception in Los Angeles

Autograph session for "JAPAN / A Love Story" held in Los Angeles

Book signing in Los Angeles

To coincide with the exhibition, a collection Mr. Kenna's photographs from Japan has been published by Nazraeli Press. A copy signed by Mr. Kenna is presented to all reception guests.

Autograph session for "Michael's photobook, JAPAN / A Love Story"

Michael's photobook, JAPAN / A Love Story

We would be delighted to welcome you to the exhibition in London and look forward to seeing you there. We also hope to bring the exhibition to other vibrant cities around the world.


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