Nobuyoshi Araki

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This article is about the photographer. For the Japanese-American director, see Gregg Araki.
Nobuyoshi Araki
Born (1940-05-25) May 25, 1940 (age 75)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Known for photographer and contemporary artist
Notable work over 350 photography books, including Sentimental Journey, Tokyo Lucky Hole, and Shino

Nobuyoshi Araki (荒木 経惟 Araki Nobuyoshi?, born May 25, 1940) is a Japanese photographer and contemporary artist. He is also known by the nickname Arākī (アラーキー?).

Life and career[edit]

Araki was born in Tokyo, studied photography during his college years and then went to work at the advertising agency Dentsu, where he met his future wife, the essayist Yōko Araki (荒木陽子).

Having published over 350 books by 2005,[1] and still more every year, Araki is considered one of the most prolific artists alive or dead in Japan and around the world. Many of his photographs are erotic; some have been called pornographic. Among his photography books are Sentimental Journey (1971, but later reissued), and Tokyo Lucky Hole (1985). Sentimental journey "1972-1992" is a diary of life with his wife Aoki Yoko until she died of ovarian cancer in 1990. The first part of Sentimental journey sees the couple embarking on married life – their honeymoon and having sex.[2] Pictures taken during her last days were published in Winter Journey.

He contributed photography to the Sunrise anime series Brain Powerd.[citation needed]

In 1981, Araki directed High School Girl Fake Diary (女高生偽日記 Jokōsei nise nikki?), a Roman Porno film for Nikkatsu studio.[3] The film proved to be a disappointment both to Araki's fans, and to fans of the pink film genre.[4]

The Icelandic musician Björk is an admirer of Araki's work, and served as one of his models. At her request he photographed the cover and inner sleeve pages of her 1997 remix album, Telegram. More recently, he has photographed pop singer Lady Gaga. Araki's life and work were the subject of Travis Klose's 2005 documentary film Arakimentari.

Commissioned by Italian luxury label Bottega Veneta, Araki photographed Saskia de Brauw and Sung Jin Park in Tokyo for the brand’s spring/summer 2015 campaign.[5]

In 2014, the Italian philosopher Mario Perniola wrote the essay Araki's Hell, included in the volume Photography for the Afterlife.

Personal life[edit]

In 2005, an American director, Travis Klose recorded a documentary about Araki called Arakimentari, which discusses his personal lifestyles and his arts.

Araki was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, and has since undergone surgery which successfully removed the tumor.[6]

In 2010, Araki's cat, Chiro died of old age.[7]

In October 2013, Araki lost the vision in his right eye due to a retinal artery obstruction. The 74 years old man utilised this as an inspiration to exhibit his works, called "Love on the left eye", which was held on the 21st of June 2014 at the Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.[8]


Exhibitions (selected)[edit]

  • 2005: Araki, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2006: Implosion (Ten Year Anniversary), Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2008: Friends and Family, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2009: Araki, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.[12]
  • 2015: The Pistils Waltz, Gallery 51, Antwerp.[13]


Araki's work is held in the following public collections:


  1. ^ The number depends on such things as how new compilations of previously published are counted. But Kōtarō Iizawa counted 357 in Araki-bon! 1970–2005 (荒木本! 1970–2005) / A Book of Araki Books! 1970–2005 (Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha, 2006; ISBN 4-568-12071-3). (Despite the alternative title in English, the book is only in Japanese.)
  2. ^ "Interview with Nobuyoshi Araki". invisiblephotographer. 
  3. ^ Sharp, Jasper (2008). Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema. Guildford: FAB Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-903254-54-7. 
  4. ^ Weisser, Thomas; Yuko Mihara Weisser (1998). Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films. Miami: Vital Books: Asian Cult Cinema Publications. p. 196. ISBN 1-889288-52-7. 
  5. ^ Alessandra Turra (December 30, 2014), Nobuyoshi Araki Lenses Bottega Veneta Campaign Women's Wear Daily.
  6. ^ Kurt Easterwood, "Araki’s latest work born of his fight with cancer,", 7 October 2009. Accessed October 24, 2010.
  7. ^ "Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki × Chiro ‘Japan’s Most Famous Cat’". 
  8. ^ "Nobuyoshi Araki: Love on the Left Eye". 
  9. ^ "Araki's World - Solo Exhibition of Nobuyoshi Araki". 
  10. ^ "Nobuyoshi Araki". Artuner. 
  11. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1875. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Nobuyoshi Araki: Self, Life, Death. Phaidon Press, New York 2005. ISBN 0-7148-4555-8.
  • Nobuyoshi Araki: Photography for the Afterlife, Tokyo, Heibonsha, 2014.

External links[edit]