[ torii ]

2006 – 2012, 2017 –


A torii is a gate built at the entrance of a shrine. The gate demarcates the sacred precinct of Shintoism, which is Japan’s ancient religion (or religious attitude/custom), from the secular world in which people live. From the Meiji period (1868–1912) to the end of World War II, Shintoism was used under the colonialism of the Japanese government, and many shrines and torii were built across East Asia.

Tinian, USA テニアン アメリカ

Saipan, USA サイパン アメリカ

Saipan, USA サイパン アメリカ

Tinian, USA テニアン アメリカ

Hualien, Taiwan 花蓮 台湾

New Taipei City, Taiwan 新北 台湾

Taichung Taiwan 台中 台湾

Hualien, Taiwan 花蓮 台湾

Changchun, China 長春 中国

Sakhalinskaja, Russia サハリン ロシア

Sakhalinskaja, Russia サハリン ロシア

僕は、「戦争のかたち」(2001-2005)の国内の取材を 進める中で、韓国や台湾にも旧日本軍の遺構が残されていることを知った。そして、それらが戦後、どのように残されているか現状を調べ、取材を始めた。アメリカ領北マリアナ諸島パラオ共和国(旧南洋)、中国東北部(旧満州)、台湾、韓国、ロシア・サハリンなど。
現在の日本の国境線の外側に残された鳥居を調査し、現地へ赴き、撮影する。韓国にはもう残っていなかったし、台湾では、地面に横たわり人々のベンチになった鳥居を 見つけた。最終的に「戦争のかたち」に登場するような  旧軍事施設跡としてではなく、鳥居を“ 主人公”に写真作品としてまとめた。
2013年、このシリーズを写真集にまとめるために、   小さな出版社「ミチラボラトリー」を立ち上げ、以降書籍の発行・販売を自ら行うようになる。

From the Meiji era until the end of World War II, Shinto was used as a tool for colonialism at the hands of the Japanese state, which built shrines and torii gates all across East Asia.
Over the course of my domestic research for Remnants (2001 – 2005), I learned that many former Japanese military ruins still remain in Korea and Taiwan. I then began my investigations and interviews into what happened to them after the war, which led me to visit and photograph remaining torii gates outside of Japan’s present-day borders. I conducted this series in the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. territory), Northeastern China (former Manchuria), Taiwan, South Korea, and 
Sakhalin (a Russian territory). While there are none left in Korea, I found a torii gate laid on its side and used as a park bench in Taiwan. I chose to present these torii gates as the main focus of my photographs rather than portray them as former military installations like the ruins that appear in Remnants.
In 2013, I started a small publishing company called “Michi Laboratory” to compile this series into a book of photographs, which I began to publish and sell.


old postcards



「MOTアニュアル2012 Making Situations, Editing Landscapes 風が吹けば桶屋が儲かる」展(東京都現代美術館)カタログより改変

Motoyuki Shitamichi shows us “shapes” that are present but escape our notice. In Remnants (2001–2005), he discovered, recorded, and introduced old defensive structures in Japan, including gun emplacements and fighter aircraft hangars that constitute part of the landscape but are used for different purposes such as barns. In his Re-Fort Project (2004–), he has given new functions to these war relics (which no longer function as they were originally designed) by using them as venues for kick-the-can games or fireworks events. Through these activities, Shitamichi connects the past with the present, and links missing memories with the remaining structures. There are some things that pass unnoticed in our daily lives and that we avoid looking at: Shitamachi makes us aware that they have melted into the landscape but remain as shapes.
The Torii series is a project that Shitamichi has been working on since 2006. He has visited and photographed torii that are located outside Japan’s current national border. Torii were built in the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. territory), Northeast China (former Manchuria), Taiwan, South Korea, and Sakhalin (a Russian territory). His works show that, after the war, their shapes and uses have been changed to suit the local cultures and lifestyles in respective countries. In Saipan, torii remain intact at cemeteries; those in South Korea have been destroyed and no longer exist. In Taichung City, a torii is laid on its side and used as a park bench. Torii, which represent a symbolic shape in Shintoism, have lost their significance as symbols but remain in shapes different from their original forms. In this way, Shitamichi focuses on how symbolic shapes can be transformed into non-symbolic objects.

Torii are also considered as barriers (borders) to distinguish the sacred from the secular. Indeed, Shitamichi’s torii project is synonymous with his discussions about borders. Torii located outside Japan’s national border look different depending on the historical view, political situation, and culture of respective countries. The difference is attributed not only to the regime and large events such as war, but also to the gradual change in people’s daily lives. As life continues, memories of large events gradually fade due to the accumulation of small events. The consecution of small events transforms the landscape before people realize it. The torii that Shitamichi focuses on in this series encompass the time series in terms of both large historical events and small personal events. He borrows the landscape to provide the audience with opportunities to contemplate upon the visible/invisible, existent/nonexistent borders. In general, the Japanese people are too sensitive or try to distance themselves from issues regarding the national border, territory, and state, because they are not accustomed to focusing on such issues. Shitamichi boldly takes up these issues and quietly upsets the concept of “Japan” or “the Japanese people.” His works reveal relative, fluid, and personal borders that are different from those created by political ideologies or historical objectivity.

Mihoko Nishikawa (curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)
Quoted from the catalog of MOT Annual 2012: Making Situations, Editing Landscapes (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo) (edited as necessary)


[高松コンテンポラリーアート・アニュアルvol.07 ]
Takamatsu Art Museum, Kagawa Japan



photograph+text+figure: Moyoyuki Shitamichi
edit: Moyoyuki Shitamichi
design: So Hashizume
pages: 74p (28cm×22.5cm)
publishing company: michi laboratory
publication year: 2013
edition: 1000

価格: 3000円+税 (完売)


Author: SHITAMICHI Motoyuki
Essays: SHITAMICHI Motoyuki, KAMIYA Yukie, Doryun CHONG
Editors: SHITAMICHI Motoyuki, SHIBAHARA Satoko,Tokyo Arts and Space (KONDO Yuki, FUNABASHI Makiko,NAKAMURA Nami, HORIE Teruyo, YAMADA Eri)
Art Direction and Design: TANAKA Yoshihisa
Design: YAMADA Yutaro
Printing: iword Co., Ltd.
Published by Tokyo Arts and Space, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture
Pages: 144
Publication Date: March 12, 2021
edition: 600

発行:公益財団法人東京都歴史文化財団 東京都現代美術館 トーキョーアーツアンドスペース
エディション: 600


サイズ:①1000×1500mm、② 508×610mm備考:4×5ネガフィルムで撮影した写真シリーズ
2019    PHOTOFAIRS  Shangha「i   Insights  |  Fieldwork」上海、中国
2019    「Intimate  distance.  Masterpieces  from  the  Ishikawa Collection」MO.CO.  Hôtel  des collections、モンペリエ、フランス
2018    「Moving  Stones」KADIST、パリ、フランス
2018    高松コンテンポラリーアート・アニュアルvol.07
2017    「Condition Report: ESCAPE from the SEA」国立美術館/アート・プリンティング・ワークス、クアラルンプール、マレーシア
2016    「Soil  and  Stones,  Souls  and  Songs」現代美術デザイン美術館(MCAD)、マニラ、フィリピン/ The  Jim  Thompson Art Center、バンコク、タイ
2016    個展「下道基行展  風景に耳を澄ますこと」黒部市美術館、富山
2016    岡山芸術交流2016「開発」旧後楽館天神校舎跡地、岡山
2015    「他人の時間」東京都現代美術館、東京/国立国際美術館、大阪/シンガポール美術館、シンガポール/クイーンズランド 州立近代美術館、ブリスベン、オーストラリア
2015    第5回 I 氏賞受賞作家展「めぐりあう時間」岡山県立美術館、岡山
2015    「2015フォトシティさがみはら受賞作写真展」相模原市民ギャラリー、神奈川
2015    「Our  Land  /  Alien  Territory」Central  Manege、モスクワ、ロシア
2015    「Beyond  Hiroshima:  The  Return  of  the  Repressed」 The  Genia  Schreiber  University Art  Gallery、
2015    「MAMコレクション001:ふたつのアジア地図―小沢剛+下道基行」森美術館、東京
2014    第6回恵比寿映像祭「トゥルーカラーズ」東京都写真美術館、東京
2014    個展「下道基行―紙の仕事」Space  Seed、岡山
2013    個展「torii」梅香堂、大阪
2012    「MOTアニュアル2012  風が吹けば桶屋が儲かる」東京都現代美術館、東京
2012    第9回光州ビエンナーレ「ROUND  TABLE」光州、韓国 2011    「Living  in  an  Out-of-Place」鳳甲美術館、台北、台湾 2008    
2008    「アトミックサンシャインの中へ  日本国平和憲法第九条下における戦後美術」THE  PUFFIN  ROOM、ニューヨーク、    アメリカ/代官山ヒルサイドフォーラム、東京/沖縄県立博物館・美術館、沖縄
2007    広島アートプロジェクト2007「金庫室のゲルトシャイサー」旧日本銀行広島支店、広島

Title: torii
Year: 2006 – 2012, 2017 –
Medium: Type C print
Dimensions: 1) 1000 x 1500 mm, 2) 508 x 610 mm Notes: Photography series taken by 4 x 5 negative film
Publications: Photo book ”torii”, Michi Laboratory, 2013
2019    PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai “Insights | Fieldwork,” Shanghai, China
2019    “Intimate distance. Masterpieces from the Ishikawa Collection,” MO.CO. Hôtel des collections, Montpellier, France
2018    “Moving Stones,” KADIST, Paris, France 2018    Takamatsu Contemporary Art Annual vol.07
“Connecting Returning Summer,” Takamatsu Art Museum, Takamatsu, Kagawa
2017    “Condition Report: ESCAPE from the SEA,” National Art Gallery / Art Printing Works, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2016    “Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs,” Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila,
Philippines / The Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand
2016    Solo Exhibition “Shitamichi Motoyuki – Open yourself to the landscape,” Kurobe City Art Museum, Toyama
2016    Okayama Art Summit 2016 “Development,” Korakukan Tenjin School, Okayama
2015    “TIME OF OTHERS,” Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo / The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Osaka / Singapore Art Museum, Singapore / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
2015    “The 5th Okayama Prefectural Mr. I Development of Rising Artists Award Exhibition,” Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama
2015    “Photo City Sagamihara General Photography Festival Exhibition,” Sagamihara Citizen’s Gallery, Kanagawa
2015    “Our Land / Alien Territory,” Central Manege, Moscow, Russia
2015    “Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Repressed, Wartime Memory, Performativity and the 
Documentary in Contemporary Japanese Photography and Video Art,” The Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery,Tel Aviv, Israel
2015    “MAM Collection 001: Two Asian Maps – Ozawa Tsuyoshi
+ Shitamichi Motoyuki,” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo 2014    Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative
Visions 2014 “TRUE COLORS,” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo
2014    Solo Exhibition, Space Seed, Okayama 2013    Solo Exhibition “torii,” BAIKADO, Osaka
2012    “MOT Annual 2012 Making Situations, Editing Landscapes,” Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo
2012    The 9th Gwangju Biennale “ROUND TABLE,” Gwangju, South Korea
2011    “Living in an Out-of-Place,” Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2008    Solo Exhibition “Fantome” Espace Japon, Paris, France 2008    “Into the Atomic Sunshine – Post-War Art under Japanese Peace Constitution Article 9,” THE PUFFIN ROOM, New York, USA / Daikanyama Hillside Forum, 
Tokyo / Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum, Okinawa
2007    Hiroshima Art Project 2007 “Geldscheisser in the Vault,” The Former Hiroshima Branch of the Bank of Japan, Hiroshima

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