Edition 2024

I’m So Happy You Are Here

Japanese Women Photographers from the 1950s to Now

1 July - 29 September 2024

10.00 AM - 07.30 PM


Hara Mikiko (1967), Hiromix (1976), Ishikawa Mao (1953), Ishiuchi Miyako (1947), Katayama Mari (1987), Kawauchi Rinko (1972), Komatsu Hiroko (1969), Kon Michiko (1955), Nagashima Yurie (1973), Narahashi Asako (1959), Ninagawa Mika (1972), Nishimura Tamiko (1948), Noguchi Rika (1971), Nomura Sakiko (1967), Okabe Momo (1981), Okanoue Toshiko (1928), Onodera Yuki (1962), Sawada Tomoko (1977), Shiga Lieko (1980), Sugiura Kunié (1942), Tawada Yuki (1978), Tokiwa Toyoko (1930-2019), Ushioda Tokuko (1940), Watanabe Hitomi (1939), Yamazawa Eiko (1899-1995) and Yanagi Miwa (1967).

I’m So Happy You Are Here
offers an exciting new perspective on Japanese photography: a much-needed counterpoint, complement, and challenge to historical precedents and the established canon—an electrifying expansion of our understanding of Japanese photographic history, but also of photo-history at large. Over the past decade, the world of photography has made a concerted effort to fill critical gaps in its historiography. The excavation and recovery of women’s work, including this one, serves as a testament to the liberating nature of self-representation and self-expression, and to the importance of photography as a medium to express and share one’s own story: to be heard and to be seen.

This restorative survey presents a wide range of photographic approaches brought to bear on the experiences and perspectives of women on their own lives and on Japanese history and society, showcasing their creativity through key images, installation- based works, video, and photobooks.

With a focus on material from the 1950s to now, I’m So Happy You Are Here presents over twenty-five artists from different generations—many of whom have been recognized for their vital contributions, while others have developed unique and important practices without substantial public recognition. This collection of historical and contemporary works weaves together three major motifs—observations of everyday life that are both deep and delicate; critical perspectives on Japanese society, particularly on the roles inhabited— and often reinterpreted—by Japanese women; as well as experiments with and extensions of the photographic form.

Exhibited together for the first time, these works provide a multiplicity of perspectives on Japan and Japanese photography, and a broader, more nuanced reflection on the diverse contributions of Japanese women to the medium.

Lesley A. Martin, Takeuchi Mariko and Pauline Vermare

Curators: Lesley A. Martin, Takeuchi Mariko and Pauline Vermare.

Exhibition organized by Aperture in collaboration with the Rencontres d’Arles.

With support from Kering | Women In Motion.

And the Fondation Franco-Japonaise Sasakawa.

Publications: Femmes photographes japonaises, des années 1950 à nos jours, Éditions Textuel, 2024; I’m So Happy You Are Here: Japanese Women Photographers from the 1950s to Now, Aperture, 2024.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture