Photo exhibition of historical architecture Katsura Detached Palace of Kyoto at UCLA, April 30 –May 21

Katsura Shoin Goten

Katsura Detached Palace: Right to left, Old Shoin middle and new Goten, viewed from the East (Photo by Yasuhiro Ishimoto)

The Japan Foundation and Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco present Katsura: The photographs of Ishimoto Yasuhiro in San Francisco area and Los Angeles area in April and May.

In Los Angeles Area, the exhibition will be held from Friday, April 30 through Friday, May 21 at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, Perloff Hall, Perloff Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

The Katsura Detached Palace was originally built as the villa of the Hachijonomiya family (later the Katsuranomiya family) on the west bank of the Katsura River on the western outskirts of Kyoto in the early Edo period (17th century).

The Villa maintains the traditions of Japanese architecture, namely, simplicity and harmony with nature, in the composition of the Shoin-style buildings based on straight lines, the diagonal arrangement of its buildings, and the rhythmical arrangement of the stepping stones along the path.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto

Born in San Francisco to Japanese parents in 1921, Yasuhiro Ishimoto went with his parents to Japan at age three and grew up in Kochi. He returned to the U.S. in 1939 in order to study agriculture at the University of California, but was detained at the Amachi Internment Camp in Armach, Colorado from 1942 to 1944.

After World War II, Ishimoto moved to Chicago to study architecture at Northwestern University in 1946. He transferred to the Institute of Design in 1948 to study photography under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, earning a BS in 1952. Received the Moholy-Nagy Prize awarded to superior students of the institute for the consecutive years of 1951 and 1953.

In 1953, Ishimoto came to Japan where he began photographing the Katsura Detached Palace, and published Katsura in 1960, with text by Walter Gropius and Tange Kenzo. Ishimoto lived in Chicago from 1959-61 on a fellowship from the Minolta Corporation. The photographs of street scenes form this period were published in Tokyo in 1969 in the photo collection Chicago, Chicago.

He has kept residence except for a period spent in Chicago, and taught photography in Tokyo during 1960s including professorship at Tokyo Zokei University (the Tokyo University of Art and Design) from 1966 to 1977.

In 1969, he became a Japanese citizen. In 1974, his work were included in the New Japanese Photography exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and in the New Vision exhibition held in 1980 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Institute of Design, Chicago.

In 1983, the government of Japan awarded Ishimoto the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon and in 1996 named him a “Person of Cultural Merit.”

Katsura Main Room

Katsura Detached Palace: Main room of the old Shoin viewed from the North-East second rooms in the foreground (Photo by Yasuhiro Ishimoto)

This exhibition presents Ishimoto’s attempt to liberate tradition through a contemporary viewpoint.

The presenters of the exhibition hope that this exhibition will offer all viewers a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of a traditional Japanese Palace rediscovered by a great Japanese photographer.

In San Francisco are, the exhibition is held from Wednesday, March 31 through Sunday, April 18 at Hakone Estate and Gardens, 21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga CA 95070, (408) 741-4994.

In Los Angeles Area, the exhibition will be held from Friday, April 30 through Friday, May 21 at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, Perloff Hall, Perloff Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

Nearest parking to Perloff Hall is Lot 3 in UCLA campus. Parking costs $10. For information, visit or call (310) 267-4704.  Galley Hours: Weekdays 9 am –5 pm. Admission Free.