Born in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, in 1945, Hiroh Kikai studied philosophy at Hosei University in Tokyo, graduating in 1968. Since the mid-1970s, Kikai has carried out a series of street portraits made near the famous Sensoju Temple in Tokyo’s Asakusa district. Once beyond the city walls, the temple is a site where stubbornly independent outsider culture thrives, in spite of Japan’s famously collective culture. Kikai’s subjects are people whom the photographer describes as inhabiting the “crevices of society.” Portrayed standing before the somber walls of the temple, his subjects radiate a sense of tenacious, hard-won individuality.
Kikai’s photographs are held in collections including the Center for Creative Photography; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.Mary O'Donnell Hulme