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TOKYO

Japanese photographer points his camera at Cameroon for exhibition

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

Photographer Michio Hiraiwa has been given the title of goodwill ambassador for Kenyan tourism because of his numerous visits to the country — 150 times since 1972. The 78-year-old has also traveled to neighboring Tanzania 80 times. Hiraiwa’s daughter, Masayo, eventually began to join him on his voyages, and together they have introduced both African countries to Japanese audiences via photo exhibitions and lectures.

His latest photo exhibition showcases another African nation: Cameroon. “Real Cameroon — True Face of the Country,” takes place from April 27 to May 12 at the Condor Gallery in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward.

In January of this year, the father-daughter team visited Cameroon at the invitation of that country’s government, and they stayed there for 20 days to explore.

The exhibition offers a glimpse into Cameroonian life and features some 280 photographs of landscapes, people and animals, taken in the country’s 10 regions.

“We came to know many things,” Michio tells The Japan Times about his visit. “There are more than 200 tribes living in the country, tribal kingdoms exist, polygamy is practiced, and office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.”

On the first day of the exhibition, the Hiraiwas will take part in a chat session from 3 p.m. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be attended by the Cameroonian ambassador to Japan, and is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

“Real Cameroon — True Face of the Country” takes place at the Condor Gallery in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, from April 27 till May 12 (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.). Admission is free. For more information, call the Hiraiwas at (03) 3316-6234.