Member of Japan Professional Photographers Society
Public transportation system is something we use for everyday commute and also for traveling. In order to bring a new perspective to public transport system, every year, we invite photography and haiku submission. (Application period is from early June to the mid of July.) Themes for the photography category are “Transportation in Japan” and “New Tourist Destinations”. Themes for the Haiku category are things pertaining to railway or things that portray and appreciate Japanese values. Works selected are exhibited at venues like Ueno station around the Railway Day (October 14th) in October every year and those works judged the best receive awards such as Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Award.
Traffic Culture Exhibition 2020
Public Interest Incorporated Foundation, Japan Traffic Culture Association
Railway Day Executive Committee
Date ： October 21 (Wed.)-October 26 (Mon.),2020
Opening hours： 9:00a.m. – 7:00p.m.
Venue ： JR Ueno Station Central Exit, Grand Concourse, Special Exhibition Site
Admission ： Free
At Traffic Culture Exhibition, which is held annually in fall at stations, Japan Traffic Culture Association also holds “SAKURYOKAI, an exhibition to present new works by representative artists of Japan. The artists with whom Hisao Taki, Director General of our association has been interacting since 1970s participate in this exhibition. Currently, about 25 artists in Japanese paintings, Western paintings, calligraphy, and other works present their works. SAKURYOKAI implies “a society with full energy” as dragons going up the rapid river. Traffic Culture Exhibition is also an opportunity to be able to see works of leading artists in public spaces like stations.
In order to make public art widely known, since 2013, we have set up a section for “Promotion of Public Art Special Exhibition” within the Traffic Culture Exhibition. The effort of public art to create a pleasant environment by installing art in public spaces such as stations and airports is unfortunately still not known enough in Japan. At the Traffic Culture Exhibition held every year in October, besides introducing public art installed across the country and artists, we also present picture panels, models, and actual art parts to showcase the process of creating public art, such as stained glass and ceramic relief. In addition, public art works by invited artists will be exhibited.
Karatsu Kunchi is an annual autumn festival of Karatsu Shrine held between 2 and 4 November. On the first day, there is a fantastic parade of Yoiyama floats illuminated by paper lanterns. The excitement of the float carriers together with the spectators reaches a climax. They waited for this for one year. Although canceled this year, I join many participants looking forward to celebrating the festival again next year after waiting for two years.
Comment by SHIMIZU Tetsuro : Karatsu Kunchi festival has been recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The photographer captured a Yoiyama float lit with paper lanterns. Looking at the expression of float draggers, local citizens and tourists, I felt as if their joy and exhilaration were transmitted to me. It is regrettable that the festival was canceled this year to prevent the infection of the novel corona virus pandemic, but as I look at this photograph I feel as if I am hearing the passionate shouting of “Enya, enya!” and energized. This photograph gives us courage and hope.
The Ariake Sea is the biggest mudflat in Japan, where Mutsugoro or the blue-spotted mudskipper is a symbolic creature of this sea. Its courtship season begins in the latter half of May when the male Mutsugoro actively jumps in front of a female as an act of courtship. The timing of shooting I had chosen was when sea became low tide from high tide while the sun’s rays coming in diagonally creating a strong shadow of the jumping Mutsugoro.
Comment by SHIMIZU Tetsuro : The Ariake Sea has the largest tidal level difference between low tide and high tide. Mutsugoro in breeding season appears during low tide which lasts for six hours. The photographer shot with a high-speed shutter just the right moment when a Mutsugoro jumped out for courting. It is only during the courting season that we can see such a vigorous jumping of Mutsugoro. This picture wonderfully depicts Mutsugoro’s easy facial expression, the exquisite spreading of the dorsal, tail, and pectoral fins and the turbulent wake in the muddy water.
Japan Railway’s Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains are very convenient and familiar transportation for Tokyo residents who love to travel to Kyoto and Nara. This year while I have been refraining from traveling due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, I was suddenly urged to take photos. I used to enjoy taking pictures of Shinkansen bullet trains crisscrossing with each other in the urban area where buildings are stacked close together. Feeling nostalgia for such happy memories, I went to this place and took this picture. I think many people who travel by train going east and west can relate to this photo.
Comment by SHIMIZU Tetsuro: What is impressive about this photo is the twin tower buildings standing against the Tanzawa Mountains at sunset. Human eyes cannot see views like this but it is possible for a telescope lens that captures distant objects and brings them closer. I can see how the photographer made excellent use of the compression effect of the telescope lens, bringing many aspects of the foreground and background together. In addition, the photographer chose just the right moment when two Shinkansen trains passed by each other, depicting the photographer’s passion for a perfect balance. A breathtakingly wonderful picture.
This giant old weeping cherry tree in Nagase is more than 400 years old and it is designated as the Tottori prefecture’s natural monument. Under this cherry tree in full blossom, I happened to meet four children who had just graduated from the local kindergarten. The old giant cherry tree was such a good contrast to the children’s lovely young characters that I asked for their permission to take this picture. The joyous feeling, of capturing the smiling and jumping children in contrast with the old cherry tree in full blossom, still lingers.
Comment by SHIMIZU Tetsuro: Nothing could be better than the big smiles of children jumping hand in hand under that old weeping cherry tree, which is designated as Tottori prefecture’s natural monument. The photograph captures the children’s joy and presents a permanent record for their families to enjoy. This is an unusual time when we are required to keep distance between not only other people but also its families. This picture tells us once again what is important even though we live in such a difficult period. I am moved to think that perhaps this old giant cherry tree has witnessed many local events during its long life.
The wild cherry tree-lined road in Mitake has been chosen as one of 100 country-designated scenic spots. I took this photo just after the rain, when the lights through the hazy sky became much softer. There is no other place from where you can take the picture of gorgeous cherry trees in full blossom together with neatly maintained terraced rice paddy fields. I wish many people would see this scenery, which is the product of the Japanese culture achieved over a long period of time.
Originally Kamiarisu Station was constructed for the transportation of Limestone. Today it is an unmanned station except for the day when SL Galaxy Express makes a shortstop. During the five minutes call, passengers get off onto the platform and the crew of the Express train helps passengers take commemorative photos. At the sound of the conductor’s whistle, passengers jump back onto the train, and as the whistle sound echoes into the mountains, Kamiarisu station reverts back to being an unmanned station.
As I live near Itami Airport, airplanes are an everyday subject of my photography. Nevertheless one day, I was stunned to see a passenger plane landing that appeared to be coming out of a tree, very close to the parking lot in my neighborhood. I was overwhelmed by the power of the plane which I had never experienced before. Then, I wondered how I could express this power, and after trial and error, I finally found a good spot by the intersection of the airport underpass from where I could capture the power of the plane landing.
Momoyake Village in Chokaimachi, Yurihonjo City, will sink into the dam lake by 2028. I visited the village to record life there as it is now, when all at once I saw a huge “Blambling” birds (Fingilla montifringilla). They were flying boisterously and violently as if training for the migration that is to come soon. The wonder of this spectacle took my breath away as I was watching the fierce wild power in this disappearing peaceful village in spring.
To take the photo of the vicinity of Shin-Ishikiri Station at dusk, I went up to a slightly elevated place at the foot of Mt. Ikoma. I found this to be the best shooting position to take the photo of the station with cherry blossoms of a private house in the foreground. I positioned my camera just outside the fence of the house. When the sky reflected the evening glow of the sunset and the city lights began to be illuminated, the house owner came out to talk with me, “This is a really beautiful view, isn’t it?” It was a cool urban autumn evening with a comfortable breeze.
The old-fashioned artillery demonstration by the Okayama Castle Gun Corps is performed at the Autumn Grand Festival at Kumano Shrine on the eve of the main festival after the Shinto rituals. Around sunset, in front of the Three-storied Pagoda, the performance began. In the weak light of dusk, the sparks from the guns looked distinctively beautiful. I think this is a really powerful photograph.
Everyone is fighting the novel coronavirus. Even the streetcars in Sapporo are participating in these efforts, not only by cleaning inside the cars but also by wearing a face mask itself! Walkers and the streetcar are all wearing masks so that we could get over this difficult time together.
The Bekanbeushi Wetland has been registered in the Ramsar Convention as part of Lake Akkeshi and Bekanbeushi Wetland. Because JR Nemuro Line trains run through this wetland only six times a day, the opportunities to photograph the train are limited. In addition, the spot that I had chosen looked like a place where wild bears could come by. Looking at this grand scenery, however, I forgot everything else, other than the scenery in front of me and taking pictures.
I took this picture on the top of Kurofu Mountain, 2404m above sea level. Kurofu is one of the mountains in the outer rim of Mt. Asama. From this spot, I could see a clear view of the majestic figure of Mt. Asama emitting volcanic plume. I was overwhelmed by the splendid vista that opened out in front of me. As the sun began to set, Mt. Asama began to glow a bright orange reflecting the setting sun in midwinter. When the full moon came in sight, I was thrilled to press the shutter button.
This colorful stratum section in Izu Oshima Island consists of accumulated deposits , such as volcanic ash. It is fondly called “Baumkuchen”. In the evening I was fortunate enough to take the picture of the stratum dyed in orange by the setting sun together with a bright yellow bus passing by. I heard that the bus came all the way from Chiba prefecture, and now, as a transplant, living its second life. Oshima is part of Tokyo Metropolitan, but it is a distinct place where I could feel the dynamism of the earth. The grandeur of the sight urges me to revisit again and again.
I used to work as a train driver for JR when it was called “Kokutetsu” or Japan National Railway. Even today, in-between farm work, my love for electric trains is reflected in the subjects of my photography. There is a vision I have long wanted to capture: the picture of Odakyu Romancecar passing the Sakawagawa Bridge through morning mist with its mirror image reflected on the surface of the water. Finally in winter 2019, a perfect moment had come to realize my vision. I was just absorbed in clicking the shutter.
From 1 to 5 May every year, about a hundred carp streamers are seen swimming in the clear stream of River Seto, which runs through the town of Mochigase. This event was voluntarily planned and carried out by local people for the purpose of town revitalization to attract tourists. Carp streamers, provided by local people, are fixed to the bed of the stream and are displayed together with a miniature water wheel or a boat carrying decorative samurai warrior figurines.
In winter 2019, I was going to ride on the first train of the Konan Line of Konan Railway, when I came across a snowplow locomotive. It was not for show, but an active duty locomotive. When the 1923 electric locomotive pulled the black Russel snowplow in front of me, with snow piling upon it, I was thrilled with my good luck. I forgot the severe cold and was just enchanted with its beauty and power. Then, controlling my excitement, I pressed the shutter of the camera.
If you go to Haneda Airport in late February, you can view the sun setting over Mt. Fuji. I was taking pictures from the observation deck when I wanted to take a picture of an airplane. By chance, I found a good spot from where I captured an airplane taking off while the setting sun was just behind Mt. Fuji. It seemed that the airplane taking off for the next destination was being observed by Mt. Fuji and the setting sun.
I headed for Awa-Akaishi Station of Mugi Line in Tokushima prefecture early in the morning to take the photo of the cherry trees in full blossom and the train. I was going to shoot the picture of cherry blossoms from the south side of the station. From that position, I had a view of the curved rail lines, platform, and trains, when unexpectedly, a passenger just came, greeted the conductor and boarded the train. This completed the scene; the cherry blossoms with the train catching the light of the morning sun and a passenger’s everyday life in one picture.
The Nagoya Daini Kanjyo Expressway, so-called Ring Road No. 2, is under construction. One night I went out there and instead of the conventional mobile cranes, I saw two multi-wheeled vehicles being used for the bridge construction. All kinds of expressway construction works were going on. Transporting and lifting the piers for the bridge by these multi-wheels vehicles were all computerized. I was impressed by their precise activity. I was also fascinated by how construction workers involved in highway building are working hard at engineering complicated structures.
This set of four photographs depict “the Doctor of Shinkansen”. Because of its vivid yellow color, it is also called Doctor Yellow as it monitors the condition of the Shinkansen track and various other related facilities while in operation. The current Doctor Yellow is the third generation for the 700 Series Shinkansen. However, since I have heard that there will be no next-generation train, Doctor Yellow will be the last of its generation. I go out frequently to take the last photos of Doctor Yellow running through Omi, my home region.
I went out to Kobe Ohashi Great Bridge to take a photo of the Luxury Cruise Liner “Asuka II”. Then wishing to take the picture of the cruise ship passing through the Akashi Strait, I rushed to the observation deck of Kobe Airport. When I reached there gasping, the Asuka II was passing through the Akashi Strait. Just as I was about to take the picture, an airplane was taking off, and just when its tail lamp was lit (white strobe) I pressed the shutter.
When the Tarumi Railway Line was going to be discontinued, it was the voice of the local people who lived along the railway line that reversed the decision and made it possible to continue its operation. Since then, Tarumi Railway Line has been supporting the everyday life of local people. Perhaps this train is the most popular character in the Tarumi district. I hope this picture depicts how closely Japanese railroads, railway workers, and local people are inter-connected.
“SL Winter-Wetland-Train” is a special sightseeing train towed by a steam locomotive that is operated only during winter. From the train windows, you will likely see wild Yezo deer and red-crowned cranes in the snowfield. For a photography spot, I chose a high ground looking down across the whole vista of the Kushiro Wetland. I could see the Kushiro River meandering through the wetland. The SL locomotive dashing along the Kushiro River looked so gallant and wonderful.
In the mountain village of Uchiko, there is a traditional autumn festival of Mishima Shrine. This grand festival involves “shagiri” (parading by kids with musical accompaniment) and “shishimai” (lion dance) that are dedicated to the Shrine. Elementary school children disguised as monkeys and foxes perform a funny dance to the accompaniment of pipes and drums. After the monkey dance, two foxes appear making it the highlight of shagiri parade. I sincerely hope this traditional mountain village festival will continue for a long time.
Togawa River Bridge of Tobu Railway is registered as a cultural entity by the local public body. As the SL Taiju train is passing over the bridge, behind it we see the replica of the gigantic sculptured faces of four American presidents at Mount Rushmore. This replica was the feature of a theme park that has since closed. I was fortunate enough to take this picture when I did because a moment later, the presidents’ faces would have been hidden behind the smoke from the steam locomotive.
Neatly aligned in different colors are the electric locomotive cargo trains. Freight trains are the basis of the distribution of goods across Japan. I saw a freight train driver carefully inspecting the locomotive for safety operation before he got on the train. As I looked at him, I sensed his strong sense of pride and responsibility.
The ladder-top stunt is a traditional performance at the opening of the Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival. Performers are members of Kawagoe Scaffold Constructors’ Association. Their extraordinary performance is lively and at the same time amusing like a circus act. The performers’ sense of balance was so exquisite that viewers were never bored. It was thrilling enough to make my heart race, but I managed to shoot this picture, which caught the most crucial exquisite moment of the performance.
I once saw two Bullet Trains linked together at Tokyo Station. Since then I have wanted to take the bird’s-eye shot of Series E5 and E6 connected. It was after ten years that I finally identified the place where I can have such a vantage spot. This was at the observation lobby of Hokutopia Building, a symbolic tower building of Kita City located near JR Oji Station. Because I wanted to exclude unnecessary details, I was going to use a telephoto lens. I was unable to use a tripod there, so it took a lot of time, but finally, I shot this picture.
Mt. Hikosan is known as the training place of “Shugendo”, a Japanese mountain asceticism and worship of holy mountain. Recently the forest has been devastated due to typhoons and other natural disasters. In order to revitalize the forest, Hikosan Shrine hosted a tree-planting festival. The place for planting the saplings was located 1100m above sea level. I climbed to the place with the chief priest and other Shugendo followers. As expected, especially as a mountain for ascetic training, the mountain path was very steep, and I quickly got out of breath. Sometimes it takes vitally physical effort to take the perfect picture.
“Kandachime” refers to workhorses but now living in the wild. This herd of Kandachime is seen grazing all year round in natural grassland, even withstanding the harsh cold winter. Behind the grazing Kandachime lies Tsugaru Strait and a ship, and the white Shiriyazaki lighthouse solemnly watching attentively over the herd. All of these features have contributed to the development of this barren “Tonan” region in Shimokita Peninsula. Attracted by the beautiful landscape many tourists visit. Looking at this lovely scenery, an old Chinese phrase came to my mind: “South Ship North Horse” meaning a lot of traveling.
This giant snake made of rice straw and bamboo is 82.8m long. It is listed in the Guinness Book as the longest snake in the world. The length is to commemorate the fatally disastrous flood “Uetsu Heavy Flood” on August 28, 1967. I tried my best to include in this picture the whole figure of the snake and its 500 carriers, as well as tourists taking pictures with their smartphone. I was hoping that this picture would give the viewers a feeling of being there, in person.
Minamiaso Village in the Kumamoto region suffered extensive damage from a severe earthquake in April 2016. I visited the village in May of last year and took the picture of a boy playing with mud in front of the rice paddies that have just been planted with new seedlings. I saw a family helping each other and coexisting with nature. As I was looking at children’s innocent smiles, I thought that this joy must have been the source of adults’ energy. And I took courage from their perseverance, as they steadily strove to reconstruct their life.
Kinzan Shussekiji Temple, also popularly known as the Temple of Hydrangea, is number 7 of Saigoku’s 20 Kan’non Pilgrimage temples in the Kinki area. I visited the temple expecting to see the fog after the rain. In addition, I saw wet hydrangea blossoms shining beautifully in the fog as a pilgrim passed by me. The fantastic atmosphere of the pilgrimage was great. I am always impressed with the back of each pilgrim, which I feel tells the story of his or her “journey of life”.
|The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Award||“Thank You for Waiting!”||HASEGAWA Yuji|
|The Minister of the Environment Award||“Splendid Jump”||SASAKI Koki|
|The Central Japan Railway Company President Award||“Town for the Coming and Going”||ITO Masaru|
|The Japan Travel and Tourism Association Chairman Award||“Good Friends”||ITO Naomi|
|First Place||“Spring Light”||IGUCHI Koshi|
|“Gathering at Remote Station”||ITO Masaaki|
|Second Place||“Wow!”||KAWAMURA Kazuhiko|
|“Sound of Spring”||SATO Shigeyuki|
|“Train at Dusk”||HIROSE Yasuyuki|
|Third Place||“A Volley of Shooting”||KOGUCHI Tsuyoshi|
|“Put on a Mask, Streetcar As Well”||IWAMA Hiroshi|
|“Running Through the Wetland”||MIYATA Yoshiaki|
|“Evening Scenery of Mt. Asama”||SAKAGAMI Sonosuke|
|U-22 Award||“Trip to a Stratum Exposed in the Fault”||SAKURAI Toshiaki|
|Winner||“Run Through the Morning Mist”||OGINO Etsuo|
|“Carp-Shaped Streamer in the River”||HASE Toshihiro|
|“Struggle with Snow of Konan Railways”||TERADA Hirokazu|
|“Heading for Tomorrow”||NAMIKI Tatsuro|
|“Spring in Full Blossom”||SUGIURA Masayuki|
|“Bridge Construction by Two Multi-Wheeled Trailers”||MASUDA Koji|
|“Protecting the Main Line” (Set of Four Photographs)||FUKUDA Naoto|
|“Popular Transportation”||OHASHI Kazuhito|
|“Locomotive in the Winter’s Wetland Line”||TAKAHASHI Kazuyuki|
|“Festival in the Mountain Village”||SHIRAISHI Nobuo|
|“Great People”||MURATA Shigeru|
|“Inspection for Safety Operation”||KURUMA Keiji|
|“Fixed Well!”||MORITA Eiichi|
|“Bullet Train”||TATEISHI Kazuyoshi|
|“Mountain Asceticism”||IKUTA Mamoru|
|“Vitality of Northern End, Tonami”||KIDOBA Takayuki|
|“World Record Snake”||UEKI Hajime|
|“It Was a Good Day to Play in the Mud”||MASUDA Tetsuko|
|“A Buddhist Pilgrimage”||SHIBASAKI Shizuo|
|Japan Traffic Culture Association
Director General Award
|[after the last train
the winter galaxy]
|Comment by HASEGAWA Kai :
The last train has already gone, and dusk has come to the city. The daytime bustle is gone, and the nightlife too has cooled down. The Milky Way appears white in the winter night sky. At dawn, until the first train starts to move, this quietness lasts. Before the bustling daytime, the quiet night spreads itself. A haiku written by a fourteen-year-old junior high school student.
|First Place||[like a wobbling record
|Comment by HASEGAWA Kai :
I assume that this is a large LP record. When I play a record, it sometimes wobbles slightly. The sound of a train—gatan-goton—is similar to this, but here the author suggests that the summer is also rippling. The abruptness is a surprise and joy. The scenery passing outside the windows also plays its rhythm. The comma is used very effectively here.
|Second Place||[at the window
a ladybug, too,
is on a trip]
|Third Place||[the summer sky
shaking with the sound
under another country’s sky
|[my train lurches to the station
where grandmother waits
|Winner||[getting off at the station
I trudge along
an autumn beach]
|[map in hand
that summer in my youth
the trip north]
the train slowly
in that town
my summer hat]
|[on being asked the way
I too am a traveler
wearing the wind
from the Pacific Ocean]
|[when it stops slowly
in my hometown
a columns of clouds]
starts to pulse
|[when I get off
I become a boy
a station in summer]
|[this train takes
just five minutes to reach
the early-summer sea]
Harajuku, Tokyo is known to the world as a hub to create youth culture. Young people in the world are drawn to, and follow, young fashion, goods and design, and life style created in Harajuku. Harajuku is a “sacred spot” for Kawaii culture and we can say it is an originating place for “Japan is cool”. Along the platform of Harajuku station, there are sixteen big signboards (height 3m, width 4m) that Japan Traffic Culture Association owns. Harajuku Fashion Joy Board Culture Festival is an event whereby big posters with social and cultural messages are posted on these big signboards and has become a seasonal tradition of Harajuku. Recent posters include “Bring Olympic and Paralympic Games to Japan!” and “Travel campaign to rediscover the charm of Fukushima” with a aim to bring back tourists to Fukushima prefecture damaged considerably by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March, 2011, getting attention of young people passing through the station.
At Harajuku Fashion Joy Board Culture Festival from April to October 2015, Japan Traffic Culture Association and Information-technology Promotion Agency have co-hosted a campaign called “Protect and foster IT society; Striving for realization of a reliable IT society”, in which Manga is used to appeal the importance of password strengthening to prevent unauthorized log-ins.