TOMATSU, Shomei. 11:02 Nagasaki. (Tokyo): (Shashin Dojinsha), (1966).

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TOMATSU, Shomei.
11:02 Nagasaki.
(Tokyo): (Shashin Dojinsha), (1966).

4to (219 × 188 mm), pp.[168]. 119 black-and-white photographs. Text by TamakiMotoi and interviews with survivors. Black endpapers. Black-and-white photo-illustrated paper-covered boards; light spotting, light toning to head and foot of spine, rolling slightly, small area of offsetting to from endpaper to half-title at fore-edge. Publisher’s fragile acetate dust-jacket; slightly short and shrunk as always, a few tears, chips to head and foot of spine. Publisher’s printed cardboard slipcase; light browning, toning and small stain to spine, light wear, discreet ink notation to front. Publisher’s printed insert laid in. An excellent copy, complete with the publisher’s fragile acetate dust-jacket.

First edition, in the rare dust-jacket, complete with the publisher’s printed insert. In 1961 Shomei Tomatsu began a series of photographs of close-up photographs of objects found at the site explosion at Nagasaki. These include a watch stopped at precisely 11:02, a headless statue, and a warped glass bottle that serves as a horrific metaphor for all of the ruined bodies and lost lives. 71 of these metaphorical photographs were published together with 21 of Ken Domon’s more literal photographs of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb and the effect on its survivors in Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document 1961.

Tomatsu had originally intended for 11:02 Nagasaki to be the first in a series of three separate books, the others being ‘Osorezan: Countryside Politicians’, ‘Homes’, and ‘Asphalt and Occupation’. However, sales of 11:02 Nagasaki were poor and the publisher Shashin Dojinsha collapsed soon after its publication. Tomatsu subsequently formed his own publishing company called Shaken, and in 1967 he published Nihon which included photographs from these unpublished series. In 1968 he took the remaining unsold copies of 11:02 Nagasaki, changed the copyright page and placed a sticker bearing the new publisher’s name on the spine.

11:02 Nagasaki is, together with Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document 1961, Ken Domon’s Hiroshima (1958), and Kikuji Kawada’s Chizu [The Map] (1965), one of the ‘most significant memorials to the defining event in twentieth-century Japanese history. They also illustrate a clear progression towards truly world class Japanese photographic expression’ (Badger).

Parr, M. and Badger, G., The Photobook: A History vol.I pp.274-277; Roth, A., The Open Book: A History of the Photographic Book from 1878 to the Present pp.226-227; Auer, M. and M., 802 photo books from the M + M Auer collection p.454


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