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Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi

Japanese photographer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Japanese photographer
Countries Japan
Occupations Photographer
A.K.A. Kawauchi Rinko
Gender female
Birth January 1, 1972
The details

Rinko Kawauchi Hon FRPS (川内 倫子, Kawauchi Rinko, born 1972) is a Japanese photographer. Her work is characterized by a serene, poetic style, depicting the ordinary moments in life.

Life and work

Kawauchi became interested in photography while studying at Seian College of Art and Design where she graduated in 1993. She first worked in advertising for several years before embarking on a career as a fine art photographer.

In 2001 three of her photo books were published: Hanako (a Japanese girl's name), Utatane ("catnap"), and Hanabi ("fireworks"). In the following years she won prizes for two of the books in Japan. Kawauchi's art is rooted in Shinto, the ethnic religion of the people of Japan. According to Shinto, all things on earth have a spirit, hence no subject is too small or mundane for Kawauchi's work. Her photographs are mostly in 6×6 format. Kawauchi also composes Haiku poems.

She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2012.


  • Hanako. 2002.
  • Utatane. 2002.
  • Hanabi (花火, Fireworks). Tokyo: Little More, 2002. ISBN 4-89815-053-5.
  • Aila. 2004.
  • The eyes, the ears. 2005.
  • Cui cui. 2005.
  • Semear. 2007.
  • Murmuration. Brighton: Photoworks, 2010. ISBN 978-1-903796-41-2.
  • One Day. 2010. One of the books in One Day Ten Photographers, edited by Harvey Benge.
  • Illuminance. New York: Aperture, 2011. ISBN 978-1597111447.
  • Approaching Whiteness. Tokyo: Goliga, 2012.
  • Ametsuchi. New York: Aperture, 2013. ISBN 978-1597112161.


Solo exhibitions

  • 1998: Utatane, Guardian Garden, Tokyo.
  • 2000: Hitoiki, Light Works, Kanagawa.
  • 2001: Hibi, Aki-Ex Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2001: Hanako, Little More Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2001: Hanabi, Gray, Tokyo.
  • 2001: Utatane, Parco Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2002: Utatane, Colette, Paris.
  • 2002: Hanabi, Little More Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2003: Utatane, Vonrot gallery, Berlin.
  • 2003: Wacall, Spiral Garden, Tokyo.
  • 2003: Rinko Kawauchi, 4F Gallery, Los Angeles.
  • 2003: Blue, Rocket Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2003: Hanabi, Little More Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2003: Hanabi, White Cube, Kyoto.
  • 2004: Aila, Little More Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2004: Utatane, Cohan and Leslie, New York.
  • 2004: Aila, California Museum of Photography, UC Riverside.
  • 2005: Cui Cui, Quatre, Florence.
  • 2005: Aila, Cohan and Leslie, New York.
  • 2005: Aila, Kanaz Forest of Creation, Fukui.
  • 2005: Aila + Cui Cui + The eyes, the ears, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris.
  • 2006: Rinko Kawauchi, The Photographers' Gallery, London.
  • 2006: Aila + The eyes, the ears, Galeria Carla Sozzani, Milan.
  • 2006: Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne.
  • 2006: Aila + The eyes, the ears, Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen.
  • 2007: Aila + The eyes, the ears, Hasselblad Centre, Göteborg.
  • 2007: Aila + The eyes, the ears, Fotografins Hus, Stockholm.
  • 2007: Semear, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo.
  • 2007: Cohan and Leslie, New York.
  • 2008: Utatane, Galeria Pepe Cobo, Madrid.
  • 2008: Semear, Foil Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2008: Cui Cui, The Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka.
  • 2008: Rinko Kawauchi, presented by Antoine de Vilmorin, Paris.
  • 2009: A Pause, Gallery Trax, Yamanashi.
  • 2009: Condensation, Mountain Fold Gallery, New York.
  • 2010: Rinko Kawauchi: Transient Wonders, Everyday Bliss – Photography, Video and Slides, Argos Centre for Art and Media, Brussels.
  • 2010: Iridescence, Meessen De Clercq, Brussels.
  • 2010: Aila, Seian University of Art and Design, Shiga.
  • 2010: A Glimmer in Silence, Galeria Priska Pasquer, Cologne.
  • 2010: The Eyes, the Ears, Kunstverein Augsburg e.V., Augsburg.
  • 2010: Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton Photo Biennial, Brighton.
  • 2011: Murmuration, Rose Gallery, Los Angeles.
  • 2011: Illuminance, Gallery at Hermès, New York.
  • 2011: Illuminance, Foil Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2011: A Glimmer in Silence, FO.KU.S Kunst Stadtforum, Innsbruck, Germany.
  • 2012: Light and Shadow, Traumaris Photography Space, Tokyo.
  • 2012: Illuminance, Ametsuchi, Seeing Shadow, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo.
  • 2012: Light and Shadow, Silencio, Paris.
  • 2013: Illuminance, Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich.
  • 2013: Ametsuchi, Rose Gallery, Santa Monica.
  • 2013: Light and Shadow, msc Gallery, Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts, Kyoto.
  • 2013: Ametsuchi, Aperture Gallery, New York.
  • 2013: Light and Shadow, Kagiya Building 4F Gallery, Hamamatsu.
  • 2014: Ametsuchi, Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne.
  • 2014: New Pictures 9: Rinko Kawauchi, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis.
  • 2014: Ametsuchi, Main Gallery, Lesley University College of Art and Design. 
  • 2014: Light and Shadow, Colissimo, Hyogo.
  • 2015: Illuminance, KunstHausWien, Vienna, 20 March – 5 July 2015.

Group exhibitions

  • 2000: Hinata Kanata, Landmark Tower Gallery, Kanagawa.
  • 2002: Kimura Iehei Award Winners Exhibition Minolta, Photo Space Shinjuku, Tokyo.
  • 2003: Foil, Little More Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 2003: Hope, Laforet Museum, Tokyo.
  • 2003: Love Planet, The 41st Okayama City Arts Festival Program, Okayama.
  • 2004: Aila & Utatane, Rencontres d'Arles festival, Arles, France.
  • 2004: Lonely Planet, Art Tower Mito Contemporary Art Center, Mito.
  • 2006: Whisper not!, Huis Marseille, Amsterdam.
  • 2006: Collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Museum Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
  • 2006: PHotoEspaña 2006, Madrid.
  • 2006: A to Z by Yoshitomo Nara and Graf, Yoshii Brick House, Aomori.
  • 2007: Curator’s Choice ’07: Museum Dialogues, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo.
  • 2008: Parrworld, Haus der Kunst, Munich; Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2009; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2009.
  • 2008: Blooming: Brazil-Japan Where You Are, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi.
  • 2009: Verdure! New Acquisitions and Related Works of the Collection, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi.
  • 2009: FotoGrafia Festival International, Roma Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome.
  • 2009: Photography Now China, Japan, Korea San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.
  • 2009: Touch the World Borderless, Art Museum NO-MA, Shiga.
  • 2010: Kassel Fotobook Festival 2010, Documenta Halle, Kassel.
  • 2010: Summer Loves, Huis Marseille, Amsterdam.
  • 2010: Brighton Photo Biennial 2010, New Documents, curated by Martin Parr, Brighton, UK.
  • 2010: The 6th Lianzhou Photography Festival, Lianzhou, China.
  • 2011: Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art, curated by David Elliott, Japan Society, New York. With Kawauchi and Makoto Aida (会田誠), Manabu Ikeda (池田学), Tomoko Kashiki (樫木知子), Haruka Kojin (荒神明香), Kumi Machida (町田久美), Yoshitomo Nara (奈良美智), Kohei Nawa (名和晃平), Motohiko Odani (小谷元彦), Hiraki Sawa (さわひらき), Chiharu Shiota (塩田千春), Tomoko Shioyasu (塩保朋子), Hisashi Tenmyouya (天明屋尚), Yamaguchi Akira (山口晃), Miwa Yanagi (やなぎみわ) and Tomoko Yoneda (米田知子).
  • 2011: Colloquy and Soliloquy, Mountain Fold Gallery, New York.
  • 2011: Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
  • 2011: Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwigshafen Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
  • 2011: FotoGrafia - Festival Internazionale di Roma, Roma.
  • 2012: Visible / Invisible, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan.
  • 2012: To Wander a Garden, The Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka, Japan.
  • 2012: Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012, The Photographers’ Gallery, London and C/o Berlin, Berlin.
  • 2012: Daegu Photo Biennale 2012, Daegu, Korea.
  • 2013: Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
  • 2013: The Aesthetics of Photography - Five Elements Collection Exhibition 2013, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo.
  • 2013: Exhibition of the 29th Higashikawa Award Winners, Higashikawa Bunka Gallery, Hokkaido.
  • 2014: Vivid Memories, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris.
  • 2014: Photography will be, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya.
  • 2014: Landskrona Fotofestival 2014, Landskrona, Sweden.
  • 2014: Rinko Kawauchi×NOMA t.d., Gallery Trax, Yamanashi; Traumaris, Tokyo; Rizm, Hyōgo Prefecture. NOMA t.d. is a Japanese clothing brand.
  • 2014: Paraty en Foco en festa, Paraty, Brazil.
  • 2014: Biwako Biennal, Shiga.
  • 2014: Inaugural Exhibition, Sherrick & Paul.
  • 2015: In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, 5 April – 12 July 2015.
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