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Unknown Japan
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 31 - 01 - 2019

“Tohoku through the Eyes of Japanese Photographers”, an exhibition of photography organised by the Japan Foundation's Cairo Office, was inaugurated on 23 January by Ambassador Masaki Noke and director of the Japan Foundation in Cairo Yo Fukazawa together with Director of the Cairo Opera House Magdy Saber, writes Reham El-Adawi. The exhibition was on show until 6 February at the Cairo Opera House Salah Taher Hall, and will be held at the Alexandria Museum of Fine Arts until 27 February, then at the Assiut University exhibition hall from 6 to 16 March.
The exhibition presents the viewpoints of nine highly independent photographers including Hiroshi Oshima, Meiki Lin, Naoya Hatakeyama, Ichiro Kojima and Masatoshi Naito, who represent the past, present, and future, showcasing 123 photographs. It also attempts to show the world the many fascinating aspects of Tohuku, a beautiful mountainous region of deep forests and cold winters, known for its hardy locals and their beautiful handicrafts, marking the first anniversary of when the Great Earthquake of Japan struck Tohoku in March 2011. “Around 18,500 people were dead or missing,” Yo Fukazawa said. “We wanted to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and their bereaved families.”
In conjunction with the opening of its grand exhibition at the Cairo Opera House, the Japan Foundation Cairo office opened the exhibition “Japan in An Egyptian Framework” by photographer Sameh Refaat, a Japan-educated engineer-turned-artist and one of the most successful Arab photographers on 500px, at the Japan Foundation in Garden City.
“We wanted to have the two exhibitions together, to show Japan from the Japanese point of view as well as from the Egyptian point of view, but the Tohoku photo gallery is already large and has 123 images,” Yo Fukazawa added. “We have decided to open our exhibition, which will continue with the Opera exhibition in the same period, so we organised a special seminar on photography and on the experience of the artist Sameh Refaat in Japan and the pictures he took there, on 31 January at the Opera House Salah Taher Hall.”
“Dreaming Egypt”, an exhibition by Refaat in which he attempts to change the stereotypical image of Egypt, in Japan, will be held under the auspices of the Culture Centre of the Egyptian Embassy in Tokyo.

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