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Most active in the mid-20th century, the photographer Hiroshi Hamaya (1915-99) is best known for his folkloric images of rural life in Niigata Prefecture — images that some consider to be symbolic of his passive resistance to militarism, but for more critical voices are advocacy of a retrograde cultural essentialism.

These issues aside, as historical documents and prime examples of monochrome film photography, Hamaya’s work is invaluable. To commemorate his posthumous 100th birthday, the Setagaya Museum of Art is holding a substantial restrospective, starting in the 1930s and ending in the ’80s.

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