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Guiding Principles of our Collection

February 3, 1989

The museum collects, in addition to the photographic works (original prints) that are the focus of the collection, a wide range of other materials that facilitate a comprehensive understanding of photographic culture.

Photographic Works

  1. The museum’s objective is to collect, from an international perspective, a wide range of works with cultural and artistic value by photographers in Japan and throughout the world.
  2. The museum systematically collects a wide range of works by photographers in Japan and abroad, of importance in the history of photography from its inception to the present.
  3. While concentrating on collecting works of established historic value, the museum also looks to the future, discovering and collecting work by photographers whose work is favorably regarded at exhibitions and in other settings.
  4. The museum collects photographs describing and recording life in Tokyo by photographers in Japan and abroad.
  5. The museum focuses on collecting the works of Japan’s leading photographers and particularly on collecting to capture a full view of those photographers’ creative activities.
  6. The 17 photographers designated as major photographers to be focuses of the collection, as specified in paragraph 5 above, are as follows (in alphabetical order): Akiyama Shotaro, Fujiwara Shinya, Hamaya Hiroshi, Hayashi Tadahiko, Hosoe Eikoh, Ishimoto Yasuhiro, Kawada Kikuji, Kimura Ihee, Kuwabara Kineo, Moriyama Daido, Nagano Shigeichi, Narahara Ikko, Shirakawa Yoshikazu, Tomatsu Shomei, Tsuchida Hiromi, Ueda Shoji, Watanabe Yoshio

Reference Materials on Photography

  1. The museum builds a systematic, historically informed collection of publications (photographic books, specialized books, magazines) that deal with the culture of photography.
  2. It collects negatives regarded as necessary for the study of photographers and their work.
  3. It collects posters and other materials associated with photographic exhibitions (e.g., catalogues and tickets).
  4. It also collects other material suitable for expanding knowledge of photographers and their works.

Photographic Equipment and Materials

  1. The museum collects materials necessary to provide an understanding of the basic principles of photography, the history of its development, and the connection between knowledge and equipment in the course of that history.
  2. It also collects materials and objects necessary for hands-on workshops and other training.

Reference Materials on Images and Technology

  1. The museum systematically collects materials necessary to present the history of moving images and other imaging media.
  2. It creates replicas and models of imaging equipment to produce experiential exhibitions.
  3. The museum collects important materials as it conducts research on the history of visual culture in Japan and Asia.
  4. It collects exemplary works in moving images and other imaging media in each genre and works with artistic value.

Numerical Targets for the Collection

  1. Long-range objective: A collection of at least 75,000 items, consisting of 50,000 or more photographs (from Japan and overseas) and 25,000 other works and reference materials.
  2. Collection as of March, 2023: 37,312 items, including 24,753 photographs from Japan, 6,066 photographs from abroad, 2,595 works related to Images and Technology, and 3,898 reference materials.

New Policy for the Photography Collection

November 13, 2006

  1. The museum will further develop its collection in line with the Guiding Principles of our Collections.
  2. It will actively collect rare and valuable work such as photographs from the dawn of photography.
  3. The museum will systematically collect the work of historic photographers who have played a major role in the history of photography.
  4. It will develop a comprehensive collection of works by photographers of definitive value from 1980 on.
  5. It will collect the work of young photographers, including photographers who have been included in “Contemporary Art and Photography in Japan” exhibitions, artists who have received major prizes in Japan or overseas, and artists who have been included in important exhibitions at major museums in Japan or overseas.
  6. The museum will collect the work of artists included in exhibitions at the museum, including both exhibitions of work from the collection and special exhibitions.
  7. It will designate new major photographers as focuses of the collection as follows, based on paragraph 5 under Photographic Works in the Guiding Principles of our Collection:
    a) Leading Japanese photographers;
    b) Photographers highly regarded in Japan and overseas;
    c) Photographers who exemplify a field of photography in Japan;
    d) Photographers whose work has been collected by other major museums in Japan and overseas or for whom solo exhibitions have been held;
    e) Photographers who are presently in their 40s, 50s, or 60s;
    f) Collecting about 200 works, through purchase or donation, taking into consideration the current budget for collection and possible steep rises in the market;
    g) Reassessing the designated major photographers in terms of trends in photography and art in Japan and abroad.
  8. The 21 photographers newly designated as major photographers to be focuses of the collection, as specified in paragraph 7 above, are as follows (in alphabetical order):
    Araki Nobuyoshi, Fukase Masahisa, Furuya Seiichi, Hatakeyama Naoya, Ishiuchi Miyako, Kitai Kazuo, Kitajima Keizo, Koyama Hotaro, Miyamoto Ryuji, Morimura Yasumasa, Onodera Yuki, Sato Tokihiro, Shibata Toshio, Shinoyama Kishin, Suda Issei, Sugimoto Hiroshi, Suzuki Kiyoshi, Takanashi Yutaka, Tamura Akihide, Yamazaki Hiroshi, and Yanagi Miwa.