The other japan

Photo Exhibition
Japanese Studies Ghent University

Japan in a peep box: a perfect miniature world in which the past is preserved and ever unchanging. A world that presents itself to the beholder as a harmonious natural landscape of Fuji-san, gardens, temples and geisha. However, a new image appears in the peep box: one of modernity; composed of topoi as high technology, mega-cities, destruction of nature, emotional indifference, social isolation, etc. While the distortion of the well-preserved harmonious image of a traditional Japan is experienced as fracture and rupture, it also confirms and feeds a meta-stereotype: Japan is different and – in its difference – is incomprehensible for ‘the others‘. Or is it?





Are we talking about ‘The Other Japan’ from a Japanese point of view, or a Western point of view? What is being portrayed abroad? And what is being portrayed in the country itself? That was the thing I was struggling with.
– Ha Ly Do

Maybe there is no such thing as the “other” Japan, maybe it’s just the “unknown” Japan that we have yet to discover…
– Arno Ceriez

To me there is no “other” Japan, there only is Japan. It’s a complex union of many layers and colours.
– Brecht van der Meulen





Another interpretation of “The Other Japan” would be the part of Japan that even for Japanese people is not very visible.
– Tanguy Declercq

For me the “other” Japan is the “real” Japan, the actual people, their lives, and the Japan beyond the touristic and stereotypical views we have of the country.
– Delphine De Ronne


Perhaps these images emphasise that it’s not just a question of right wing vs. left wing politics… but that they rather show the spectrum of ideas about what safety, security and community means.
– Sarah Bijlsma

“The other Japan” is something super personal. I was (personally) very much focused on trying to show the things that are maybe exactly very “Japanese”,
just the normal daily life, things that you could see anywhere.  But that are not part of the Japan that you see in the big media.
– Wesley Oostvogels







In my pictures, I hope I can awaken a bit of curiosity in the audience, for Japan and its people, and for what their stories could be.
– Delphine de Ronne


The messy part that I try to portray, is perhaps more interesting, because it’s exactly the opposite of what everyone expects Japan to be.
– Malou Van den Heuvel