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Kazutoshi Yoshimura NFT Photo Exhibition

Nishikigoi ~The World-class Japanese Colors~

Kazutoshi Yoshimura made his debut as a photographer after living in Canada during his 20s. Currently based in Tokyo, he continues to travel internationally and domestically, while pursuing his ambitious photography career, which focuses on landscapes, people, structures, and documentaries. Among his most popular pieces are those that capture Japanese landscapes from unique perspectives such as via large 8x10 and 4x5 film cameras. He regularly holds solo exhibitions where many of his photographs are sold.

The theme of this exhibition is Nishikigoi (carp), a symbol of Japanese culture. Poetically capturing the brightly colored carp swimming in gardens and waterways throughout Japan, and using digital cameras housed in Nishikigoi farms in both Niigata and Hiroshima, he has succeeded in creating unique Nishikigoi images that come across as gorgeous paintings.

The Virtual Museum allows visitors to view art in a virtual space and then purchase them, with their rarity guaranteed by NFT.

About the two types of virtual space

Virtual Museum
After viewing the artwork here, visitors can purchase physical reproductions of any of the paintings alongside an NFT. (Coming Soon)

OnCyber
After viewing artworks here, visitors can purchase digital data with NFTs via OpenSea.

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*Press the arrow keys and mouse to move around, press the Esc key to exit the virtual space display.

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■Message

Proud to share with the world:
Colours of Japan A trip to meet nishikigoi 

It seems to me that in cities and villages of Japan, you are less likely to see vivid colours. For example, in the authentic historic districts that are found in all corners of the country, you will see houses and stores with brown wood walls and grey tiled roofs all leaning on each other, creating an idyllic atmosphere; a very typical view of the simple Japanese lifestyle. The only vivid colour there are the flowers planted near the front door, the mailbox standing along the driveway, and cars driven by the residents. 

When I visited Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, and started strolling through the alleys of the town, I looked down on the ground, and stopped. There were lots of coloured nishikigoi swimming in the natural water flowing in the streams. Red, yellow and golden carp were sparkling brightly under direct sunlight, adding a touch of colour to this monotone castle town.

 

I then took a casual photo of the coloured nishikigoi with the townscape in it, but then later sensed this wondrous power solely in this photo. Having realized the existential value of the nishikigoi, I then decided to pursue them right away as one of my photography themes. 

Nishikigoi is said to have originated in Yamakoshi District located in Niigata Prefecture. During the mid Edo Era, the residents of the hamlet began breeding black carp Nishikigoi as precious protein sources during winter. Some were raised in irrigation ponds used to supply the terraced rice fields with water, where, presumably, mutation occurred occasionally, creating fry with colour. This was in the days when there were few entertainment options around, and so, before long, the villagers` passion for creating a more beautiful and unique patterned Nishikigoi was ignited. 

The development of coloured Nishikigoi became widely known to the people outside of the prefecture in 1914 (Taisho era 3) during the Tokyo Taisho Exhibition. It is said that they became known as Nishikigoi about that time.Later in the late 1955s (Showa era 30), during Japan's period of rapid economic growth, people started vying to build their dream house. Building a pond in the garden and breeding nishikigoi became a fad, rapidly spreading them nationwide. The number of breeders and distributors also increased 

With this history of nishikigoi in mind, I then embarked on a trip to Ojiya City, also popular for nishikigoi breeding, as well as Yamakoshi Village, Niigata Prefecture, to collect materials needed.Nishikigoi breeding starts in early spring. The numerous baby fish that has emerged from the hatched eggs, are culled repeatedly, gradually narrowing down the ones with great promise. They are raised in large outside breeding ponds. I learned that the mineral components contained in thawed snow water and soil is essential to produce beautiful colours. 

What excited me the most was the moment when they were removed from the pond in autumn. Once the cloudy water is drained, Nishikigoi breeders step into the ponds, carrying the large grown-up nishikigoi, one by one, with care. Then they are released into the water tanks. I was just in awe every time I saw the shiny gorgeous colours. 

I travelled around Kyushu, Chugoku, and Shikoku region, also covering the waterways of the town and Japanese gardens where nishikigoi were swimming. As you can imagine, the people involved were proud of the beautiful charming nishikigoi, as everyone willingly consented to have their image taken.

 

There is something that I found out while travelling around the country this time. That is, it is mostly the children, and in addition, the international tourists, that show interest in nishikigoi. I saw foreigners overwhelmed at the bright coloured gigantic nishikigoi, taking souvenir photos with them, as if they were encountering an endangered species at a zoo. Needless to say, there is still a lot of nishikigoi enthusiasts in Japan. However, nowadays, a large number of the valuable nishikigoi that are raised affectionately by Nishikigoi breeders, are shipped overseas by plane. Nishikigoi has become extremely popular, especially in Germany, the Netherlands, and Indonesia. 

Japan is full of wonderful culture that one can be proud to share with the world. Nevertheless, the majority of Japanese people who are born and raised in this country, for some reason, tend to put it all to the back of our minds. Covering nishikigoi, I was fortunate enough to rediscover another authentic Japanese treasure. I am sure that my journey to chase the colours of nishikigoi, will continue far into the future.

Kazutoshi Yoshimura

■NFT Works

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There are various types of Nishikigoi, including Kohaku, Taisho Sanshoku, and Yamabuki Koganei, which swim in the water. I secured my camera inside housing and took pictures underwater.

The Nishikigoi did not line up perfectly, so it took more than 5,000 attempts to get one or two great shots.

Although it is prohibited to take pictures underwater where Nishikigoi are kept, special permission was granted and the process was done with disinfected equipment while in the presence of the pond manager.

If equipment that has not been properly disinfected and is put into the water, the Nishikigoi may be harmed or even wiped out.

Ojiya, Niigata Prefecture

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Obi prospered for 280 years from 1588 to the beginning of the Meiji era (1868-1912), as the castle town of the Obi/Ito family clan. The town still retains its Edo period samurai residences and stone walls, and there is a clear stream in a canal where many colorful Nishikigoi swim.

Nichinan, Miyazaki Prefecture

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The "Three Colors of Taisho" (Taisho sanshoku), exude elegance and strength. It is largely characterized by red and white featuring sprinkles of black dots. The colors appear even more vivid in the sunlight.

Nichinan, Miyazaki Prefecture

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Shimabara in Nagasaki Prefecture is also known as the " of Water”. Water flows through-out all parts of the  forming streams where colorful Nishikigoi swim. The Nishikigoi look as if they are floating in the air when viewed from inside the clear water.

Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture

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While in secure housing, I gently submerged the camera underwater. Despite the cloudy water, I was able to capture the brightly colored Nishikigoi.

Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture

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Yusui Garden (Shimeisou) was built as a villa in the late Meiji period (1868-1912), and is home to a pond with a daily spring water flow of approximately 3,000 tons, where many colorful Nishikigoi swim.

Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture

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Kazutoshi Yoshimura

吉村和敏

Photographer

■Profile

Kazutoshi Yoshimura was born in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture in 1967. He graduated from Nagano Prefectural Tagawa High School, and worked at a printing company in Tokyo. After leaving the company, he lived in Canada for one year which led to his career as a professional photographer. Currently based in Japan, he maintains a vigorous schedule by travelling around the world and throughout Japan photographing, elaborating on a certain theme for a long period, and publishes as a collection of works. Yoshimura’s lyrical landscape photographs known for their artistic composition, with the delicate effects of gentle light, shadow and breeze, and portrait photographs which conveys the vibe and emotion of local people are highly received, and a large number of fans would visit his periodical exhibitions held throughout Japan. Recently he has been expanding his ways of expression, by putting effort in writing serials for magazines and publishing book of essays and the like. He is one of the most promising photographers of today. The Canada Media Award 2003, Newcomer's Award of the Photographic Society of Japan 2007, Higashikawa Award-Special Photographer Award 2015 

OFFICIAL WEB SITE: https://kaz-yoshimura.com/

Photo Books

Profile Picture

■Photo Books

“PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND” Kodansha (2000)
“A TRIP INTO SEASONS OF SPLENDOR”(ESSAY)” KK Bestsellers (2000)
※ Paperback edition: “BREEZE IN THE GREEN ISLAND (ESSAY)”
“Atlantic Canada” Nikkei BP Kikaku (2000)
※ Revised edition: “PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND AND EASTERN CANADA”
“LIGHT UPON THE COUNTRY” Gentosha (2002)
“THE RED ROAD TO THE PRAIRIE” Kinnohoshisha (2002)
“SILENT MOMENT (DVD)” Geneon Entertainment (2004)
“ASA/MORNING” Alicekan (2004)
“YUU/EVENING” Alicekan (2004)
“NOSTALGIC LIGHT” PIE Books (2004)
“BREEZE IN THE GREEN ISLAND (ESSAY)” Kobunsha Chienomori Bunko (2005)
“AUTUMN IN THE LAURENTIANS” Up-Front Books (2005)
“SILENT NIGHT” Shogakukan (2005)
“UNCHANGING SCENERY (ESSAY)” Kobunsha (2006)
“PICTURE BOOK OF MORNING SCENES” Alicekan (2006)
“A TALE IN THE APPLE VILLAGE” Shufutoseikatsusha (2006)
“TOMORROW” Keizaikai (2006)
“PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND AND EASTERN CANADA” Nikkei BP Kikaku (2007)
 “BLUE MOMENT” Shogakukan (2007)
“YOSHIMURA KAZUTOSHI PHOTO BOX / SEVEN STORIES OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND” Kodansha (2008)
“PASTORAL” Nippon Camera (2009)
“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF FRANCE (A COMPLETE VOYAGE)” Kodansha (2009)
“Sense of Japan” Nostro bosco (2009)
“THE LITTLE VILLAGE WAS WRAPPED IN SACRED SOUND OF BELLS (ESSAY)” Nostro bosco (2010)
“Christmas Tree” Alicekan (2010)
“GIFT” Keizaikai (2010)
“MAGIC HOUR” Shogakukan (2010)
“CEMENT” Nostro bosco (2010)
“Shinshu” Shinanomainichishinbun (2011)
“LIGHT ON EARTH” Maruzen Publishing (2012)
“RESPECT” Maruzen Publishing (2012)
“CUSTOM DOCTOR Solomon Islands folklore doctor” Nostro bosco (2013)
“SEKISETZ” Maruzen Publishing (2013)
“PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND” Maruzen Publishing (2014)
“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF ITALY (A COMPLETE VOYAGE)” Kodansha (2015)
“COLORS IN SNOW” Maruzen Publishing (2015)
“Moments on Earth” Nippon Camera (2015)
“KANRANSHA×Kanransha” Maruzen Publishing (2015)
“KAMI-GOTO Kamigoto Goto Islands The island of quiet prayers”Maruzen Publishing (2016)
“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF BELGIUM (A COMPLETE VOYAGE) Kodansha (2016)
“ATLANTIC GIANT” Maruzen Publishing (2016)
“MORNING LIGHT” Shogakukan (2017)
“NISHIKIGOI” Maruzen Publishing(2017)
“RIVER KISOGAWA×HATSUDENSHO” Shinanomainichishinbun (2017)
“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF FRANCE (A COMPLETE VOYAGE)” Kodansha (2017)
“A journey around the world begins with the morning light” Maruzen Publishing(2018)
“Du CANADA”Nikkei National Geographic(2019)
“CAROUSEL EL DORADO” Maruzen Publishing(2020)
“SL×SHINSHU” Maruzen Publishing(2020)
“STONE Masters living with Aji stone” Maruzen Publishing(2021)