Photographer Mao Ishikawa wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Photographer Mao Ishikawa wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Ishikawa giving her acceptance speech in her fiery “Mao rhetoric” on Jun 3, at the Sasakawa Hall in Tokyo.

June 3, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Photographic Society of Japan held an awards ceremony on Jun 3, at the Sasakawa Hall in Tokyo, where Mao Ishikawa was awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ishikawa was presented a certificate and a trophy. She pledged to “Continue to create ‘made in Okinawa’ photography as long as I’m physically able to.”

The photographer was introduced as having won the award for her “Ongoing work to produce photography and organizing exhibits, and for her creative work in portraying Okinawa’s history of adversity in the ‘Dai-Ryukyu Syashin Emaki’ exhibit.”

Ishikawa delivered her acceptance speech in her “classic Mao” rhetoric: “I am Okinawan, not Japanese. I despise Japan—Japan bullies Okinawa.” However, she praised the association that selected her and said, “there are many Okinawan photographers producing great work. I wasn’t getting recognized and was frustrated. I thought many of the works [selected] tended to circumspect the central government, but [the association] made two selections for the reason that its subject was military-related, which amazed me.” She went on to assert that, “There’s an air of gloom in Japan, and the art world has become cowardly. There is a lot of work out there that is completely uninteresting.” She vowed to “continue taking photographs ‘made in Okinawa.’”

Seven others were awarded alongside Ishikawa at the award ceremony: the Newcomer’s Award went to Inbe Kawori and Ryo Minemizu, who photographs in Okinawan waters; Manfred Heiting and Kaneko Ryuichi won the International Award; Keisou Tomioka and Naohisa Hara was awarded the Distinguished Contributions Award; and Chihiro Minato won the Scholastic Achievement Award.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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