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The Japanese Box.
Facsimile reprint of six rare photographic publications from the Provoke era.

Photographs by Koji Taki, Yutaka Takanashi, Takuma Nakahira, Daido Moriyama, and Nobuyoshi Araki. Text by Akihito Yasumi, Koji Taki, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takuma Nakahira, Yutaka Takanashi, Takahiko Okada, and Gozo Yoshimasu. Edited by Christoph Schifferli. Concept and object design by Karl Lagerfeld and Gerhard Steidl.
Edition 7L, Paris, France, 2001. In Japanese & English. 892 pp., profusely illustrated, 10½x11½x5".

Publisher's Description

Out of Print.

Limited Edition of 1500 copies (ours is #118), hand-numbered on a label affixed to the underside of the box lid.

Near Fine condition (light rubbing to the dust jackets, typical in nearly all copies of this set; one elastic band has snapped), in Near Fine wooden box (light rubbing and stray surface marks, otherwise Fine).

The Japanese Box presents six publications by a remarkable group of Japanese photographers and writers whose work was a response to a climate of political unrest in Tokyo around 1968. The publication includes three issues of Provoke magazine (1968-1969), For a Language to Come by Takuma Nakahira (1970), Sentimental Journey by Nobuyoshi Araki (1971), and A Farewell to Photography by Daido Moriyama (1972).

The publications are enclosed in heavy black paper, banded with red, printed elastic bands, and contained in a black wooden box with title on the hinged lid, exposed joinery and dual clasps.

Concept and design of the object by Karl Lagerfeld and Gerhard Steidl.


Provoke No. 1.

  • Softbound with printed wrapper. 68 pp. 8¼ × 8¼ inches. Tokyo: Self-Published by Provoke-sha, November 1968.
  • Photographs by Koji Taki, Yutaka Takanashi, and Takuma Nakahira. Texts (in Japanese) by Koji Taki, Takuma Nakahira, and Takahiko Okada.

Provoke No. 2.

  • Softbound with printed wrapper. 100 pp. 7¼ × 9½ inches. Tokyo: Self-Published by Provoke-sha, March 1969.
  • Photographs by Takuma Nakahira, Daido Moriyama, Yutaka Takanashi, and Koji Taki.

Provoke No. 3.

  • Softbound with printed wrapper with flaps. 110 pp. 7½ × 9½ inches. Tokyo: Self-Published by Provoke-sha, August 1969.
  • Photographs by Yutaka Takanashi, Koji Taki, Daido Moriyama, and Takuma Nakahira. Editor's note (in Japanese) by Koji Taki. Poems (in Japanese) by Takahiko Okada and Gozo Yoshimasu.

Kitarubeki kotoba no tameni (For a Language to Come). 

  • Photographs by Takuma Nakahira. Essay (in Japanese) by Takahiko Okada. Cover design by Tsunehisa Kimura. Tokyo: Fudo-sha, November 1970.
  • Softbound with illustrated wrapper and graphic dust jacket. 192 pp. 8½ × 12 inches.

Senchimentaruna tabi (Sentimental Journey).

  • Photographs and text (in Japanese) by Nobuyoshi Araki. Tokyo: Self-Published, 1971.
  • Softbound with illustrated wrapper. 108 pp., plus a printed, laid-in sheet. 9½ × 9½ inches.

Shashin yo sayounara (A Farewell to Photography / Bye-Bye Photography, Dear).

  • Photographs by Daido Moriyama. Text (in Japanese) by Takuma Nakahira. Tokyo: Shashin Hyoron-sha, 1972.
  • Softbound with printed wrapper and dust jacket. 310 pp. 7¼ × 9 inches.

The Japanese Box Editor's Book

  • Edited, and with a foreword (in English) by Christoph Schifferli. Essay (in English) by Akihito Yasumi. Includes biographies on the photographers.
  • Softbound with printed wrapper and red string binding. 32 pp. 5¼ × 8¼ inches.

In 1968, a magazine with the programmatic title Provoke was published in Tokyo by the photographer and writer Takuma Nakahira, the art critic Koji Taki, and other members. Investigating the relationship between photography and text, and suggesting new ways for photography to depict Japanese society, the magazine was an artistic and philosophical manifesto, responding to the upheavals of the late sixties. The participating photographers, among them Daido Moriyama (who joined Provoke with the second issue) searched for a radically new photographic language, as is reflected in the titles of their books: titles like Moriyama's Bye, Bye Photography, and Nakahira's For a Language to Come; publications that were turning points in postwar Japanese photography.

This spectacular limited edition collection of facsimile reprints of six legendary Japanese photography publications from the 1960s and 1970s is a highly sought-after collector's item. Included are the first three issues of Provoke and three books that were inspired by it. Originally published in extremely limited editions (Provoke had a print run of 1,000 copies), these publications are very rare today and almost impossible to find. This set comes in a black wooden collector's box, with an editor's book that includes translations of the texts. A must-have for photography lovers.

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