Masuda Kozo.

DOMON Ken (1966].)


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60 original silver gelatine prints, measuring 18x26.5cm. Each photo has a glassine sheet affixed to it providing instructions (cropping etc.) for publication in Taiyo magazine. Together with a fine copy of Taiyo, THE SUN, monthly deluxe. 160pp. [Tokyo] Heibonsha, dated: Showa 41 [i.e. 

Domon Ken (1909-1990) hardly needs to be introduced. He rose to fame in the 1950s shaping a style of photography that later became defined as 'Realism' which insisted that photography should be entirely un-staged. His unique style of snapshot photography focused on the social conditions of post-war Japanese society. The present set of images show the daily life of Masuda Kozo (1918-1991) a celebrity in the world of Japanese chess, called Shogi. He rose to the rank of 9th dan in 1958, an achievement which has not been repeated. To put it simply, he was stellar, the equivalent to Kasparov in Western chess. Kozo was also a bit of a character: He was a heavy drinker and could smoke 300 cigarettes per day. A commentator once observed that the genius of his play was matched by the way he arranged his cigarette buds in an ashtray to form a perfect flower. Kozo also seems to have been quite single-minded: He ran away from home aged 13 with the aim of becoming the best shogi player in Japan. After spending a some time as a cleaner and working in restaurants he finally got an apprenticeship with a Shogi master in Osaka. He reached the first dan in 1934. He was drafted into the army in 1939 and in 1944 was posted on one of the small islands in Micronesia which got cut off from food supplies by US forces. He barely managed to survive but when he returned to Japan at the end of the war he re-entered the world of Shogi with renewed vigour. His style was characterised by his ability to innovate, as well as his unconventionality. When Domon was asked to do a photo-reportage on him for publication in Taiyo magazine he used his classic style of black-and-white snapshots that seem to flow naturally out of the camera. He records him at home, chatting to neighbours, smoking on the veranda, cycling, as well as during Shogi and Go tournaments, all the while seeming to be unaware of the presence of the camera. The set includes two remarkable portrait of Domon Ken while at work during the photo-shoot. 


Stock Code: 250912

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