JFLA Lecture Series 24

Shikinen Sengu: Heart of Japan Captured by Photographer Sanjiro Minamikawa

© Sanjiro Minamikawa

Tuesday, December 9, 7PM

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
(5700 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90036)

Admission: Free

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Jingu, also known as Ise Jingu, is located in the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture. It is a Shinto shrine complex composed of 125 sanctuaries including Naiku, where Amaterasu-Omikami (the deity of the sun) is worshiped, and Geku, where Toyouke-Omikami (the deity of agriculture and industry), is worshiped.

The shrines and buildings within the sanctuaries are reconstructed and all sacred treasures, clothing, and offerings made to the shrines are renewed every 20 years. The fact that the same technology and traditional methods from 1300 years ago are used to reconstruct the shrines is what makes this sacred place simultaneously ancient, yet new. This whole process called Shikinen Sengu takes 6 to 7 years to complete, and the final phase includes a ceremony in which the respective deities are transferred to the new buildings.

Photographer Sanjiro Minamikawa documented the 62nd Jingu Shikinen Sengu which was completed in 2013. In his lecture, Mr. Minamikawa will use his visual documentation of the ceremony to demonstrate how traditions are passed on from one generation to the next, as well as the coexistence of nature and humanity.

*Please note this talk will be in Japanese with English interpretation.

The Heart of Japan: Photo Exhibition by Sanjiro Minamikawa will be on view at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center from Dec. 6 through Dec. 27, 2014.  Mr. Minamikawa has tried to present the photographs in this exhibition in an unprecedented way by printing them on Japanese paper made in Ise, thereby opening up a completely new world of photographic expression.

Sanjiro Minamikawa

Born in Mie, Japan, photographer and writer Minamikawa has focused his work mainly on the people and culture of Europe, and has been published in magazines in Japan and abroad. His best known works are 100 Artists in Their Atelier (1994), featuring great art masters in the 20th century such as Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, and Marc Chagall and their studios, and Mystery and Detective Novelists of the World (1985), featuring European and American mystery writers such as Graham Greene, Ed McBain, and Frederick Forsyth and their studies. Minamikawa was the first non-French photographer ever to receive permission to photograph the Versailles Palace and later published his photographs in 2001 as Château de Versailles. For the past few years, he has dedicated himself to documenting the 62nd Jingu Shikinen Sengu at Ise Shrine.