KAI Fusayoshi

Photographer, Writer, Bar owner

Kai Fusayoshi* was born in 1949 in Oita City, located in southern Japan. His interest in photography began when he was 11 years old, after his older sister gave him a camera to play with instead of the air rifle he had been using to protect the chicken coop from wild animals. He attended Doshisha University in Kyoto, but became involved in the anti-war movement and was quickly expelled.

(*The family name is Kai, and the first name is Fusayoshi. He prefers write “Kai Fusayoshi”, same way of saying as japanese.)

In 1972, along with folk singer, poet and therapist friends, he opened the cafe Honyarado. While working at the cafe, he headed a movement to support his folk singer friend who was being prosecuted for obscenity, and was also in involved in the “Campaign for the Release of South Vietnamese Political Prisoners.” In a local shopping arcade he created the “International Exchange Center,” but it closed after three years. On the other hand, he began to capture area resident’s daily lives through photography, and published a collection of his pictures. He also started running a regular column in the Kyoto Shinbun newspaper.

In 1978, he was invited to hold an exhibition at Evergreen State College in the United States. In the next four years he held 21 large-scale outdoor exhibitions containing 400 to 2,000 cabinet-sized candid photos of local Demachi residents. Many of the people appearing in the pictures were found by posting notices near Kyoto’s Kamo River that promised a free copy of one’s picture on the last day of the exhibit.

In 1981, he stopped managing Honyarado and began to work in the Kyoto City Economic Bureau, using his knowledge of photography as a private management consultant.

In 1985, he opened the bar Hachimonjiya. While working, he started taking photographs of the beautiful women among his customers, and beginning in 1991, began to self-published a yearly collection of these photographs entitled Hachimonjiya’s Beautiful Women. After his first child was born, he started taking many photographs of children, and later published Children of Tanuki Bridge and KIDS, among others.

From 1997 to ’98, as a Kyoto University researcher, Kai went searching for traces of hidden Jewish communities (Marranos), visiting and taking photographs in India, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal. In the process, he was able to re-discover the hybrid hometown cultures of Marrano people.

In 1999 he went back to managing Honyarado.

In 2001, he was invited to Wesleyan University in the United States to hold an exhibition entitled “Streets of Kyoto,” and afterwards held exhibitions in Boston, Berlin and Geneva.

In 2007, Kai published “Posthumous Works of a Life in Progress,” containing his best photographs from over 30 years as well as handwritten “Eulogies” from friends and acquaintances.

In 2009, he unexpectedly received the 22nd Kyoto Fine Arts and Culture Award for his achievements vividly capturing people’s ways of life in Kyoto over the years.

In the summer of 2010, he held an individual exhibition in Paris. The following fall, his work was put on display in an art salon in central France. In the first two months of 2011, his work was displayed as part of a streetlight photography exhibit organized by a central Kyoto shopping arcade association (“Kawaramachi Green Shopping Arcade ‘Art Promenade Lantern Exhibit'” — Approximately 140 photographs were displayed on the streetlights on Kawaramachi Street from Shijo to Gojo).

2010 He held the private exhibition at Kiyomizudera temple, world cultural heritage site.
2011 He started to participate in a satellite event of KYOTOGRAPHIE.
2015 Cafe Honyarado was burned out by arson.
2019 Autumn He is going to hold a private exhibition at Nijojou castle, world cultural heritage site.

In addition, in his over 40 years as a photographer, Kai has held over 100 individual exhibits throughout Japan, and displayed his work at a variety of places such as art museums, galleries, bookstores, temples, universities, restaurants, cafes and outdoor spaces. Kai has over 40 photo collections and co-authored books to his name. Currently, he is active as a photographer and writer, in addition to managing his bar.

1949April 18th – Born in Ueno in Oita City.
1953April 28th – Moved to Yamaga in the Hayami District of Oita Prefecture due to father’s work transfer.
1956Enrolled at Yamaga Elementary School. Also worked as a helper in the fields and raising poultry. Delivered vegetables to the 4-H Club daily.
1960After older sister’s teacher Mr. Arita passed away, received an Olympus Pen camera (half-size film). Encountered Iwanami Paperback Photo Collections and Shinobu Orikuchi’s Complete Works.
1967November – Moved after seeing “The Intrepid Four” (four American sailors who deserted in Japan) on the news.
1968Enrolled in Doshisha University’s Faculty of Law to study Political Science. (Was expelled soon afterwards). Became absorbed in his daily part-time job, protests, and so on.
1969May 14th – Encountered protests against the arrest of deserter D.E. Dennis, started participating in the anti-Vietnam War movement. Met Tsunehiko Kitazawa.
1970May 5th – Participated in the Kite Tournament near Iwakuni Military Base, during which he became aware of the base building plan.
1971Assisted Tsunehiko Kitazawa in his First Wide-Area Business Diagnosis at the Kyoto City Economic Affairs Bureau Small and Medium-Sized Business Guidance Office (Yamashina Ward).
May – Met Hajime Nakao. At Nakao’s house, met the main people involved in the opening of Honyarado such as Douglas Lummis, Gorou Nakagawa and Shimako Nishio. Began to spend a considerable amount of time at Nakao’s house.
August – At the Third All-Japan Folk Jamboree in Nakatsugawa, met people such as Nobuyasu Okabayashi, Masahiro Hayakawa and Kohei Watanabe.
At the end of the year, decided to take part in the creation of an anti-war cafe in Iwakuni City along with Tsunehiko Kitazawa and Hajime Nakao.
1972Beginning of January – Arrived in Iwakuni to help with construction.
February – Upon moving back to Kyoto from Iwakuni, discovered a rental property located at Teramachi Imadegawa. Quickly decided to rent it and start a cafe. Friends rushed to come from Kanazawa, Tokyo and Osaka.
October – Submitted article “Personal History Seen Through the Body” to magazine Shisou no Kagaku (Scientific Thought), but it was rejected. (Met Shoushou Nasu. Before attending the December issue’s conversation “Doubting the Household” they had not talked much).
December – With Hajime Nakao, renovated the Gion kushikatsu (fried and skewered meat and vegetables) restaurant “Hana Gion.” With Tsunehiko Kitazawa, Hajime Nakao and Minako Inoue started a monthly international affairs study group (examining the international strategies of supermarkets, department stores, etc.)
1973Renovated a children’s room at the house of the teacher Osamu Ono, made a bookshelf for Masayuki Ono, Esq.’s office and helped make a library at Takesato Watanabe’s house. Basically did things he wasn’t good at. Also devoted time to translating Paul Goodman’s People or Personal and Five Years.
January – Under the guidance of Tsunehiko Kitazawa, created the “Workers Liberation Association Nobi.”
April – All original people involved in the creation of Honyarado left (besides Masahiro Hayakawa). With Hajime Nakao and Takefumi Terada started the “Kyoto Movement to Release South Vietnam Political Prisoners” and created pamphlets. Jirou Iinuma eventually took over the group.
November – Participated in the planning for the creation of lodgings at Naruo Shoe Store (Shiokojicho Kawaramachi)
1974April – Left Honyarado with Masahiro Hayakawa; Yasuko Fukuyama and Hajime Nakao returned to take over, and Yoko Yamauchi joined them.
Did clerical work for Honyarado’s English Classroom (Teachers: Youko Katagiri、Stephan Gibs) and secretarial work for the group inquiring into the obscenity trial of Gorou Nakagawa’s Folk Report
1975Created “Community Group.” Members were Kanazawa, Nakao and Kai. Setsurou Suyama、Sumio Yokokawa, Yoh Nakayama, and Tsunehiko Kitazawa also occasionally participate.
1977Published his first photography collection “Kyoto Demachi” (Honyarado).
April 18th to October 15th – Went around taking pictures with a broken camera.
June – Published “Scenes with Women and Children” in the Kyoto Shinbun newspaper (text: reporter Kyouko Hayashi).
In the summer, published photos and essay in “Monthly Youth Guidance” (Osaka Youth Guidance Association).
1978Works were displayed as part of an exhibition run by Sano Masaaki’s “Kyoto Photography Club” at Gallery Kato. Honyarado News began to be published as Demachi World.
June – Individual exhibition entitled “Living Beside the Palace” held at Evergreen State College in Washington.
July – First “People of the Demachi Neighborhood” photo exhibition. (Held 23 times along the Kamo River until 1982).
Contributed to “Special Feature: Perspectives on Merchants of the World” in Tsunehiko Kitazawa’s Shisou no Kagaku (Scientific Thought)
1979April – Worked at the Asia-Africa Author’s Conference’s symposium on Chi-Ha Kim’s book Kugyou (Asceticism)
Fall – Took many pictures in Osaka at and in the vicinity of the self-managed Yamashina Iron Company. Also established the “Demachi International Exchange Center” along with Nicola Geiger, Yoh Nakayama and Hajime Nakao (in Shimogamo Tadekura Neighborhood). Made money by jointly translating Studs Terkel’s Working (Shobunsha) into Japanese.
Joined the movement to stop the opening of mega-stores in Demachi Shopping Arcade.
Published “Demachi News” (Demachi Shopping Arcade Youth Group).
Held “Liberation” reading group. Jack LaRose, Alan Rumatto, Satoshi Ukai, Tsunehiko Kitazawa, Hajime Nakao and Kai.
Donated 800 photographs of Demachi to Kyogoku Elementary School’s 110th Anniversary Time Capsule Committee
1980Proposed having a festival in the area around Demachi Shopping Arcade (1000 Person Committee Representative, Executive Director of “Demachi Meeting Space”) Edited and published “Demachi Meeting Space Preparation Daily News” (up to issue 50)
1981Left Honyarado. In addition to working hard as a consultant for the Kyoto City Economic Bureau, started working as a ghost writer. Produced Tsunehiko Kitazawa’s “To Live in Your Own Neighborhood” (Shobunsho). Roped into being the office manager for Masaho Suzuki’s (no party affiliation) campaign for city council.
1982Edited “Third Demachi Meeting Space Preparation Daily News” (up to issue 113)
1983Wrote an essay for Taiyou Magazine entitled “An Ordinary Neighborhood – A Kyoto-ish Neighborhood – Demachi” (Photography: Shoumei Toumatsu)
1985Opened Japonesian Cafe and Bar “Hachimojiya.”
Met Kyoto Shinbun newspaper reporter Masaru Nakamura. Published various columns for in the newspaper including “Kyoto, Just as I Saw it” (text, photography), “Kyoto Beautiful Women Map” (text, photography), “The Scenery Wandering Around Kyoto” (text, photography) “Wandering Around Kyoto With Kai Fusayoshi” (photography, text: Nakamura) and “Wandering Around Kyoto – Kai Fusayoshi’s Photography Museum (photography, text: Nakamura).
1988Started publishing a translation of Diane Arbus’s biography in Hachimonjiya Communications
1990Oldest son, Hinata, born.
Recognized for being an excellent citizen consultant on the 30th year anniversary of Kyoto City Economic Affairs Bureau Small and Medium-Sized Business Guidance Office.
1992Helped plan and write for Taiyou Magazine’s special Kyoto project.
Interview with South African Photographer Victor Matomu at Kyoto International House during his first visit to Japan.
Published photography collection Kyoto Without a Map (Komichishobou).
1993Published photography collection 365 Days of Beautiful Women (Touhou Shuppan).
1994Published photo and essay in Asahi Grafu’s “Founding of Kyoto – 1200 Year Special Edition”
Head of cover photogravure photography for architecture magazine Shin Kenchiku’s founding of Kyoto special issue
Head of photography for Diane Durston’s article “Kyoto Rain,” published in Kyoto Journal’s 27th issue. Has had work published in other Kyoto Journal issues as well.
2nd son, Amahiko, born.
1995Two photographs used in the Ministry of Education’s “Modern Literature” textbook (Obunsha).
Published photos and article “Diary of Beautiful Women” in Bijutsu Techou (Art Notebook) 1996 Published photography collection Laughing Kamo River
1997Took cover photo for Kenchiku Jaanaru (Architecture Journal).
“Laughing Kamo River” Exhibition at Egg Gallery in Shibuya, Tokyo.
As a Kyoto University Faculty of Integrated Human Studies researcher under the guidance of Akira Kogishi, went on research trips to India and Europe (~1998)
1998Photography used for Shueisha’s full-page New Year newspaper advertisement.
1999Returned to Honyarado.
Began publishing Honyarado Communications (Editor – Sachiko Hamada. Released 14 issues. Currently on hiatus).
Published article “Almeida and the El Dorado Legend in Bungo in the 16th Century” in Kyoto University’s Faculty of Integrated Human Studies research journal (representative: Akira Kogishi).
2001Began publishing column (text and photos) entitled “Backstreet Small Animals” in Kyoto Art Center’s journal Diatxt Photographs were put on display by projecting them on a wall on the first floor of Qanat Rakuhoku. Exhibition “Kyoto From the Street Corner” held at Kureseeru Art/Berg (Sapporo Designer’s Institute, Hokkaido) Exhibition “Street Cats” held at Sakura Cafe, Club and Gallery in Otaru. Exhibition “Streets of Kyoto” held at Wesleyan College (Connecticut, United States) in the Mansfield Center (September – December). Photographed Kyoto Keihan Railway riders using photogravure for article “Riders of the Keihan, O-Keihan” in the first issue of Kyouto Genomu (Kyoto Genome) Magazine (CDL Supervising Editor: Shuuji Funo) Published photo and essay “Can I Take Your Picture?” in Gurafikeeshon (Graphication) No. 116.
2002Head of photography for Hamada Fusajirou Gashuu (Fusajirou Hamada Pictures) (Supervising Editor: Sachiko Hamada).
Two year exhibition at Boston Children’s Museum entitled “Kyoto’s Children” (~2003).
March – Exhibition “India at a Glace” held at Kirara Gallery (Tenmabashi, Osaka).
June – Exhibition “Kai Fusayoshi’s Kyoto” held at Kankodo’s Main Store Gallery (Maebashi, Gunma).
September – Exhibition “229 Ohara-guchi, Kyoto” held at Temporary Space (Sapporo, Hokkaido).
2003Began publishing features “Letters from Cats in Kyoto” and “Kyoto Kids” in monthly mail order magazine Cha no Ma (Tea Space) (Continues to the present).
Exhibition “The Backstreets of Kyoto” held at the Japanese-German Center Berlin (Sponsored by the Nomura International Foundation).
Head of photography for Hidetarou Sugimoto monthly essays in Kyodo News.
April – Exhibition “Kyoto From the Street Corner” held at Gallery Conceal (Ginza, Tokyo).
2004Exhibition held at Duplex Gallery in Geneva entitled “Hachimonjiya Mandala.”
Conversation with Kouhei Hata published in Kyoto Chuo Shinkin Bank’s Geijutsu Kyouto (Art Kyoto) Magazine.
2005Gave talk entitled “My Photography and the Risk of Air Pockets” at Kyoto Frontier Symposium (Kyoto CDL) Honen-in Temple. Participated in panel and discussion with Toshiaki Ouji and Kiwamu Yanagisawa (published the following year in Kyouto Genomu No. 6).
2006Appeared in Director Mayu Nakumura’s Movie Hariyo no Natsu (The Summer of Hariyo) along with Syuntarou Tanigawa, Akira Emoto, and Jun Fubuki.
Began publishing feature “Kyoto Kai Story” in quarterly “Eye Photos” (Maria Shobo).
September – Exhibition “Beautiful Women in Kyoto” held at Gallery Maronie (Kawaramachi, Kyoto).
November – Exhibition at Otera House “Was I Born to Play?” (Bukkoji, Kyoto).
2007Children’s photos were used for Oita Prefecture Police’s guide poster and pamphlet.
Wrote “Standing on the Outskirts of the Cultural Movement of Ms. Katou, Otoki” for Tokiko Katou’s Fan Club Newsletter.
Wrote “Cats and Beautiful Women Stroll in Kyoto” for Neko Biyori’s November issue.
Wrote for Nichi Shuppan’s Rekishi to Jinbutsu (History and People) October Issue.
Wrote for Doumei (Companion)’s October issue (Nishi Honganji Shuu Musho).
Photography collection “Posthumous Works of a Life in Progress” published (Koto Koto).
January – Exhibition “on the road” held at Gallery Maggot (Fumi no Sato, Osaka).
January – Exhibition “Delightful Artists” held at Syu-yu-raku (Shichijo, Kyoto).
April – Exhibition “Kyoto’s Gion Shimogawara.”
July – Exhibition “Beloved Beautiful Women” held at ARM (Ebisugawa, Kyoto).
October – Exhibition “Kyoto Without Maps” held at Shibata Etsuko Gallery (Ginza, Kyoto).
“Posthumous Works of a Life in Progress” book launch exhibition held at Junkudo in KyotoBAL.
“Posthumous Works of a Life in Progress” book launch party and individual exhibition held at the Institut Franco-Japonais du Kansai.
“Posthumous Works of a Life in Progress” book launch exhibition held at Shijo Kawaramachi Book-1st.
2008Contributed to Kansai L Magazine’s Special Cat January Issue.
April – Exhibition “Backstreets of Kyoto” held at Konica Minolta Plaza (Shinjuku, Tokyo).
June – Exhibition “Honyarado’s Neighborhood” held at Sakaimachi Gallery (Sakaimachi Oike, Kyoto).
July – Exhibition “A Walk Inside and Outside Kyoto” held at Karyoubin (Gion Shimogawara, Kyoto).
October – Photography collection “Backstreets of Kyoto” published (Michi Shuppan).
October – “Backstreets of Kyoto – Kai Fusayoshi’s Photography Exhibit” held at Kiyomizu Temple’s Kyoudou in Kyoto.
2009Received the 22nd Kyoto Fine Arts and Culture Award.
Photography collection India at a Glance (Honyarado) published.
2010January – “The 22nd Kyoto Fine Arts and Culture Award Commemorative Exhibition” held at the Museum of Kyoto.
January – The Passage of Dreams published (Hidetarou Sugimoto – text; Kai Fusayoshi – Photography. Seisoushobou).
Februay – Exhibition “The Passage of Dreams” held at Gallery Maronie (Kawaramachi, Kyoto).
February to March – Exhibition “The Passage of Dreams” held at Gallery Maggot (Shinsaibashi, Osaka).
April – Exhibition “Kyoto Behind Kyoto ~ The Passage of Dreams” held at Konica Minolta Plaza (Shinjuku, Tokyo).
May – Exhibition “Kyoto derrière Kyoto” held at Galerie Grand E’terna (Paris, France).
June – Exhibition “Kyoto au-delà de Kyoto” held with comic book artist Emmanuel Guibert at Galerie Grand E’terna (Paris, France).
June – Individual exhibition held at La Commune (Paris, France).
November – Work put on display at Laudun-L’Ardoise Art Salon (Southern Central France).
December to January 2011 – Exhibition “Kawaramachi Green Shopping Arcade ‘Art Promenade Lantern Exhibit’ – Beautiful Women” held (Kawaramachi from Shijo to Gojo, Kyoto).
2011April – Exhibition “Back Street Sunny Places” held at the Sewing Gallery (Hoshigaoka, Osaka).
July – Exhibition “Paris at a Glance” held at the Institut Franco-Japonais du Kansai (Kyoto).
September – Exhibition “Kyoto inconnu” held at Espace Japon (Paris)
December to January 2012 – Exhibition “Kyoto par-delà Kyoto” held at Galerie ZOLA (Aix-en-Provence, France)
2012From December – Exhibition “Kawaramachi Green Shopping Arcade ‘Art Promenade Lantern Exhibit’ – Wild Cat” held (Kawaramachi from Shijo to Gojo, Kyoto).
2013March – Exhibition “The Innocents Abroad – Around France” held at Gallery Maronie (Kawaramachi, Kyoto).
April – Exhibition of KG+(KYOTOGRAPHIE satellite event) “Kamogawa” held at SONGBIRD (Kyoto).
September – Exhibition “Un Grand First” Kai Fusayoshi, Sun Young Min, Hideki Seo, held at Gallery TOKO (Paris)
From December to February 2014 – Exhibition “Kawaramachi Green Shopping Arcade ‘Art Promenade Lantern Exhibit’ – Kai’s favorite Scenes & People in KYOTO” held (Kawaramachi Street from Shijo to Gojo, Kyoto).
2014January – Exhibition “Brisures – l’âme de la ville” Pierre LANIAU and Fusayoshi KAI, held at Gallery TOKO (Paris)
March – Exhibition “Straight photo with Scholar for Malano in India” held at Gallery Maronie (Kawaramachi, Kyoto).
April – Exhibition of KG+(KYOTOGRAPHIE satellite event) “ON THE ROAD” KAI Fusayoshi and Sachiko Hamada, held at Honyarado (Kyoto).
May – “Rambling Around Europe Log” (Kyoto, Gallery Hillgate)
June – “Boyhoood (orig. title: ‘Le temps des enfants’)” (Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris)
September – Kai Fusayoshi×Shimizu Tetsuo Joint Photograph Exhibition “What am I doing here?” (Kagoshima, Gallery Yu)
Sept. to Nov. – “People of Kyoto (orig. title: ‘Mensen van Kyoto’)” (Leiden, Japan Museum Siebold House)
Dec. – SNBA (Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts) Display at Beaux-Arts Exhibit (Paris, Louvre Museum underground Carrousel de Louvre). Recipient of 2014 SNBA Paris “Jean Larivière Award”.
2015Jan. 16 – “Honyarado” burns down in a fire
April – “Honyarado Diary” (Fubaisha) published
2016April – “Honyarado Revisited” (Fubaisha) published
June – “Kai Fusayoshi Photo Exhibition” (Shinjuku, Irregular Rhythm Asylum)
2017May – KG+ “Living Beside the Kamo River” (Kyoto, Gallery Hillgate)
May ~ July – “Kai Fusayoshi – Women” exhibition (Frankfurt, Galerie Isola)
2018June – Tsuruta Ichiro・Kai Fusayoshi Joint Exhibition “-KIZASI-” (Kyoto, Tsuruta Ichiro Gallery)
Sept. – Kai Fusayoshi・Hamada Sachiko Photo Exhibition “If the two of us walk, we happen to run into dogs and cats..?” (Kyoto, Syu-Yu-Raku Sakatani)
From Oct. (Present) – “Kyoto Nostalgia – People of Honyarado and Hachimonjiya” regular column in monthly magazine “France” (Hakusuisha) (current)
2019March – Photo collection “Cats of Kyoto’s Honyarado”(édition F) published
May to June – “Secrets of everyday life” exhibition (Frankfurt, Galerie Isola)
July – “Secrets of everyday life, Part 2” exhibition (Frankfurt, Galerie Isola)
Sept. to Oct. – “Living as a poet in Kyoto” The first retrospective of Kai Fusayoshi’s Photography (Kyoto, former imperial villa Nijo Castle Ninomaru-goten Palace Daidokoro)
2020July – Exhibition “ON THE ROAD” held at Gallery SIACCA (Ginza,Tokyo)
August – Exhibition “Burned-out Photos, Sealed Memories” held at Hachimonjiya (Kyoto)
Sept. to Oct. – KYOTOGRAPHIE 2020 (International photography festival), Kai Fusayoshi Outdoor Exhibition “Kamo River Wandering” ( Sidewalk on the east end of Kawai-bashi Bridge, Tanegen, Seiryu Myoon Benzaiten), “100 Beauties” (Kyoto Station Building Sky Way)
2021Mar. Exhibition “Reminiscence Poets” held at Gallery Hillgate (Kyoto)
Jul. Exhibition “Reminiscence Poets” held at Gallery SIACCA (Ginza,Tokyo)
Nov. “Man on the street” (Hachimonjiya) published
2022Mar. Exhibition “Beautiful Women at Hachimonjiya” held at rondokreanto (Kyoto)
Mar. to Apr. Exhibition “Kamo River Wandering” Keibunsha (Kyoto)
Oct. Exhibition “Setsuna shuui – Hibino awaini” held at Galerie Miyawaki (Kyoto)
Oct. Photo collection “Honyarado, 70’s Kyoto” (Hachimonjiya) published
Oct. to Nov. Oita Art Festival 2022, Kaiyu gekijo AFTER, held at NTT Funai Building Annex (Oita)
Oct. to Dec. “Katasumi Kai Kai Art Festival”, held at Ono Brewery, etc. (Oita)
Nov. to Dec. “Hazekura Opening Anniversary, Kai Fusayoshi Exhibition -Beautiful Women-” held at Niho Gas Showroom Hazekura (Oita)
Nov. Exhibition “Honyarado, 70’s Kyoto” held at Gallery SIACCA (Tokyo)
2023Received the 41st Kyoto Prefecture Cultural Award, Distinguished Service Award
Oct. Exhibition “KAI FUSAYOSHI – Collotype Limited Editions” held at Galerie Miyawaki, Kyoto
Nov. to Dec. Exhibition “FROM HONYARADO” held at Galerie des Minimes, Paris