"Window Display", 1955, B & W print

Kiyoji Otsuji was born in 1923 in Tokyo, and died in 2001. He studied at Tokyo Professional School of Photography in 1942. At the beginning of his career he worked mostly in the field of commercial photography, creating studio work and magazine photographs. In 1953, together with Kosaku Ito and Hamao Hamada, he founded the photography and design studio Graphic Group. Thereafter, he participated in the interdisciplinary avant-garde art collective Jikken Kobo (Experimental Workshop), which brought together young musicians and artists under the direction of Shuzo Takiguchi. Jikken Kobo’s intermedia, cross-disciplinary works helped to foster the rebirth of the Japanese cultural avant-garde. Otsuji’s work is distinctive due to its sculptural and avant-garde qualities, which are tied to a spirit of experimentation. At the same time, his excellent texts on photography—both criticism and theory—have widely influenced later generations. Otsuji also left a significant mark as a teacher: from 1960, he taught at Kuwasawa Design School, Tokyo Zokei University, University of Tsukuba and Kyushu Sangyo University, among other places. His students include Yutaka Takanashi, Shinzo Shimao, Shigeo Gocho and Naoya Hatakeyama. Otsuji’s main exhibits include “Kiyoji Otsuji Exhibition,” Tokyo Gallery (1987), “Kiyoji Otsuji Retrospective – Experimental Workshop of Photography,” The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1999) and “Kiyoji Otsuji: Encounter and Collaboration,” The Shoto Museum of Art, Tokyo (2007). He received The Photographic Society of Japan Distinguished Contributions Award in 1996.

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