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Nobuyoshi Araki

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Nobuyoshi Araki (荒木 経惟, Araki Nobuyoshi, May 25, 1940) is a Japanese photographer and contemporary artist. He is also known by the nickname Arākī (アラーキー).

Nobuyoshi Araki
Born (1940-05-25) May 25, 1940 (age 77)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Other names Arākī
Known for Photographer and contemporary artist
Notable work Over 350 photography books, including Sentimental Journey, Tokyo Lucky Hole, and Shino


Life and workEdit

Nobuyoshi Araki was born in Tokyo, studied photography from 1959-1963 and in 1963 went to work at the advertising agency Dentsu, where in 1968 he met his future wife, the essayist Yōko Aoki (青木陽子).

Having published over 350 books by 2005,[n 1] and still more every year, Araki is considered one of the most prolific artists alive or dead in Japan and around the world. Many of his photographs are erotic; some have been called pornographic. Among his photography books are Sentimental Journey (1971), and Tokyo Lucky Hole (1990). Sentimental Journey "1972-1992" is a diary of life with his wife Yōko until she died of ovarian cancer in 1990. The first part of Sentimental Journey sees the couple embarking on married life – their honeymoon and having sex.[1] Pictures taken during her last days were published in Winter Journey. Parr and Badger include four of Araki's books in the first volume of their photobook history:[2] Zerokkusu Shashincho 24 (Xeroxed Photo Album), Senchimentaru na Tabi (Sentimental Journey), Tokyo Lucky Hole and Shokuji (The Banquet).

He contributed photography to the Sunrise anime series Brain Powerd.

In 1981, Araki directed High School Girl Fake Diary (女高生偽日記, Jokōsei nise nikki), a Roman Porno film for Nikkatsu studio.[3] The film proved to be a disappointment both to Araki's fans, and to fans of the pink film genre.[4]

The Icelandic musician Björk is an admirer of Araki's work, and served as one of his models. At her request he photographed the cover and inner sleeve pages of her 1997 remix album, Telegram. More recently, he has photographed pop singer Lady Gaga.

In 2005, an American director, Travis Klose recorded a documentary about Araki called Arakimentari, which discusses his personal lifestyles and his arts.

Araki was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, and has since undergone surgery which successfully removed the tumor.[5]

In 2010, Araki's cat, Chiro died of old age.[6]

In October 2013, Araki lost the vision in his right eye due to a retinal artery obstruction. The 74 years old man utilised this as an inspiration to exhibit his works, called "Love on the left eye", which was held on the 21st of June 2014 at the Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.[7]

In 2014, the Italian philosopher Mario Perniola wrote the essay Araki's Hell, included in the volume Photography for the Afterlife.

Commissioned by Italian luxury label Bottega Veneta, Araki photographed Saskia de Brauw and Sung Jin Park in Tokyo for the brand’s spring/summer 2015 campaign.[8]


Publications by Araki (selected)Edit

  • Zerokkusu Shashincho 1–25 = Xeroxed Photo Album 1–25. A series of books self-produced using a photocopier, published from 1970 onwards, each in an edition of 70 copies.
  • Senchimentaru na Tabi. = Sentimental Journey.
    • Senchimentaru na Tabi. Tokyo: self-published, 1971. Title and text in Japanese. 100 black and white photographs.
    • Sentimental Journy. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2016. ISBN 978-4-309-27700-4. Facsimile edition. With an introduction in Japanese and English by Araki. Housed in a slipcase with a postcard.
  • Tokyo Lucky Hole.
    • Tokyo Lucky Hole 1983–1985 Shinjuku Kabuki-cho district. Tokyo: Ohta Shuppan, 1990. 272 pages.
    • Tokyo Lucky Hole. Cologne: Taschen. With texts by Akira Suei and Akihito Yasumi translated into English, French and German. 704 pages. 1997, ISBN 9783822881897; 2005, ISBN 9783822846810; 2015, ISBN 9783836556385.
  • Shokuji = The Banquet. Tokyo: Magazine House, 1993. 32 black and white and 28 colour photographs. With a text by Araki.
  • Tokyo. Munich: Pinakothek der Moderne; Only Photography, 2017. 28 diptychs. With essays. Edition of 300 copies.


Films by ArakiEdit

  • High School Girl Fake Diary (女高生偽日記, Jokōsei nise nikki) (1981)

Films about ArakiEdit

  • Arakimentari (2004) – documentary directed by Travis Klose

Exhibitions (selected)Edit

  • 2005: Araki, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2006: Implosion (Ten Year Anniversary), Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2008: Friends and Family, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2009: Araki, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2015: The Pistils Waltz, Gallery 51, Antwerp.[13]


Araki's work is held in the following public collections:


  1. ^ The number depends on such things as how new compilations of previously published are counted. But Kōtarō Iizawa counted 357 in Araki-bon! 1970–2005 (荒木本! 1970–2005) / A Book of Araki Books! 1970–2005 (Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha, 2006; ISBN 4-568-12071-3). (Despite the alternative title in English, the book is only in Japanese.)


  1. ^ "Interview with Nobuyoshi Araki". invisiblephotographer. 
  2. ^ Martin Parr; Gerry Badger (2004). The Photobook: A History, Volume I. London: Phaidon. p. 274,286. ISBN 978-0-7148-4285-1. 
  3. ^ Sharp, Jasper (2008). Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema. Guildford: FAB Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-903254-54-7. 
  4. ^ Weisser, Thomas; Yuko Mihara Weisser (1998). Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films. Miami: Vital Books: Asian Cult Cinema Publications. p. 196. ISBN 1-889288-52-7. 
  5. ^ Kurt Easterwood, "Araki’s latest work born of his fight with cancer,", 7 October 2009. Accessed October 24, 2010.
  6. ^ "Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki × Chiro 'Japan's Most Famous Cat'". 
  7. ^ "Nobuyoshi Araki: Love on the Left Eye". 
  8. ^ Alessandra Turra (December 30, 2014), Nobuyoshi Araki Lenses Bottega Veneta Campaign Women's Wear Daily.
  9. ^ "Araki's World - Solo Exhibition of Nobuyoshi Araki". 
  10. ^ "Nobuyoshi Araki". Artuner. 
  11. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1875. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Archived 2010-07-28 at the Wayback Machine.

Further readingEdit

  • Nobuyoshi Araki: Self, Life, Death. Phaidon Press, New York 2005. ISBN 0-7148-4555-8.
  • Nobuyoshi Araki: Photography for the Afterlife, Tokyo, Heibonsha, 2014.

External linksEdit