Kyoto Flame

Charles Roche, long-term Kyoto resident, reminisces about The Flame, a unique monthly community-based storytelling event held at his hospitable Papa Jon’s Eatery. As figurative keeper of the flame for three years, Charles sparked a conflagration that lit up the local scene. 

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Kyotographie 2024, “Source”: Wellsprings of Creativity

For the past 13 years, co-directors Lucille Reyboz and Nakanishi Yusuke have invited the people of Kyoto –  old, established families to tourists just passing through – to engage in a month-long  jeu d’esprit inspired by their ecumenical embrace of all aspects of the photographic medium, from crude pinhole cameras to high-powered scientific instruments, and everything else in between.

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White Lines

Horizontal lines on an earthen wall. Found on the outer walls of temples, some shrines, and the Imperial Palace, these lines indicate close historical ties to the Imperial family. Some temples have three or four lines, but the walls of monzeki jiin, where members of the Imperial family have served, are decorated with five.

Throughout the city of Kyoto, these lines are so ubiquitous as to go unnoticed by visitors and residents alike. For me, they have a mysterious beauty. Amidst all the classic scenes of Kyoto, I have found myself photographing these simple walls again and again. They are images which were literally painted by the weather.

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Photography Without Borders: Kyotographie 2023

One of the pleasures of KYOTOGRAPHIE has always been the opportunity to explore Kyoto spaces that are not normally open even to longtime residents, and to appreciate the imaginative ways in which the exhibitions have been staged in them. This year, the number of main venues has expanded to 15, while their geography has contracted, presumably to accommodate the influx of day trippers and international visitors. At the same time, the number of KG+ satellite exhibitions in far-flung locations around town has increased to 92, in addition to the 10 KG+ Select and 9 Special exhibitions. 

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Kyoto’s Suburban Rice-fields

As recently as the early 20th century, verdant and productive rice fields dominated the flat lands on the northern outskirts of Kyoto, squeezing small villages up against surrounding foothills. However, in post-war years this fertile farmland has been encroached on and overwhelmed by waves of suburbanization.

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KYOTOGRAPHIE 2022 “One”

Writing in their preface to the first KG catalogue, Reyboz and Nakanishi averred that “KYOTOGRAPHIE’s intention was always to stage the work in the shrines, temples, machiyas, tea houses and other emblematic locations of the city. But by using scenographers and designers to ensure that the photography and the venues will each work to enhance the other, it was our hope that by engaging the participation of Kyoto’s traditional artisans, a broader spectrum of Kyoto society will feel that this is truly their festival.” The creative fusion we are seeing after ten years seems to confirm their vision.  

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Nanzen-ji

As a special online preview to our ‘Water in Kyoto’ issue, Paul Rossiter’s poem ‘Nanzen-ji’ reveals an example of how vitally water is intertwined with Kyoto’s rich cultural legacy.

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KYOTOGRAPHIE 2021 “Echo”

Japan’s first truly international art festival was born of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident, while this year’s edition, entitled “Echo,” has gone ahead amid the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Exploring such themes as natural disasters,  the pandemic, and sexual abuse, “Echo” might seem unremittingly dark, but among the 14 main exhibitions a current of profound and non-facile hope pulsates to the surface in unexpected ways.

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The Dento Bento

This memorable article by one of Kyoto Journal’s earliest regular contributors, Jonah Salz, on how Kyoto presents its living cultural heritage to visitors, appeared in our third issue, in 1987. Remarkably, it has hardly aged at all. Meanwhile, Jonah is still waiting – patiently – to see “dento bento” become a meme. Maybe this time…?…

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EXTRA!

KJ100: EXTRA! On this page we present additional views, impressions and visions of Kyoto, as an ongoing project complementing our print edition, KJ100: ‘100 Views of Kyoto – a Tribute.’ Kyoto View 18: Finding Home – Lauren W. DeutschWhen I passed a huge statue of Kannon, standing guard 24/7 by the door of one of…

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Structures of Kyoto, Interrogated

Structures Of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4. Edited by Rebecca Otowa & Karen Lee Tawarayama, 2021, Writers in Kyoto, 172pp., ¥1207. Structures Of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4, edited by Rebecca Otowa and Karen Lee Tawarayama, features contributions from twenty-four writers. As was the case with WiK’s previous anthologies, it is an eclectic…

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Kyoto Dwelling

KYOTO DWELLING: A YEAR OF BRIEF POEMS by Edith Shiffert, Charles E. Tuttle Company 1987, 115 pages The poet Edith Schiffert resided in Kyoto from 1963 until her death, at the age of 101 in 2017. Her poems appeared often in KJ over the years. This review of her classic Kyoto Dwelling, from KJ7, Summer…

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Hidden Masterpieces

As canals are to Venice, gardens are to Kyoto, even if mostly concealed behind the walls of private residences, or within sub-temples that have not transformed themselves into tourist attractions.

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