European Eyes on Japan | Japan Today


Japanese people those aspects of daily life that they themselves often do not perceive. This is the aim of the project “European Eyes on Japan/Japan Today”, which invites photographers working in Europe to Japan.

Subject to change
European eyes on Japan
© Alessia Rollo

Susanna Hofer, Aurora Julie Haaland Stenersen (Artist)
Mikiko Kikuta (Project Leader)

Simone Barlian (Head Programme Visual Arts)
Teresa Kranawetter (Assistance Visual Arts)
Hannah Kickert (Production)

September - October 2024

About the project

A residency program around the insight from outside for the cultural heritage of Japan
Launched in 1999, the residency project “European Eyes on Japan/Japan Today” invites photographers working in Europe to Japan to capture for posterity images from the country’s various prefectures on the theme of “Japanese people and their lives today”. The underlying intention of the project is to use these images to de- monstrate to Japanese people those aspects of daily life that they themselves often overlook. The glimpses of Japan captured from the individual perspective of European photographers differ significantly from those conveyed by the mass media or stereotypical images. So far, 60 photographers have taken pictures in 40 prefectures in Japan. The project is carried out every year with the aim of eventually photographing all 47 prefectures once. The project is organized by the NGO EU-Japan-Fest, which aims to promote Japanese art and culture in Europe as well as intercontinental exchange. The photos – taken each year at different locations in Japan – will appear the following year in the publication “European Eyes on Japan/Japan Today” and will be shown in exhibitions in Japanese cities and in the European Capital of Culture. In 2024, the exhibition will consist of works by two photographers (one from Austria and one from other European Capitals of Culture) and will be shown first in European capitals and later in Japan. The works that have passed through the exhibition circuit will then be donated to the prefectures where they were taken and to the town of Higashikawa in Hokkaido (home of the Higashikawa International Photography Festival) to become part of the cultural heritage for future generations.