Shinya Arimoto: Tibet (Zen Foto Gallery, 2019)

Shinya Arimoto is known for his street portraiture Tokyo Circulation, but his first body of work was actually taken in Tibet over an extended period of time. Arimoto, in his 20s, ventured the Tibetan Culture Area that included parts of China, India and Nepal.

Born in Osaka, 1971, Arimoto currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Graduated from Visual Arts Osaka in 1994, Arimoto received the 35th Taiyo Award in 1998 with his work Portrait of Tibet. In 2008, he founded the Totem Pole Photo Gallery. Arimoto published Tokyo Circulation with Zen Foto Gallery in 2016 and won the 26th Tadahiko Hayashi Award as well as the Photographic Society of Japan’s Lifetime Achievement Award in

Zen Foto published a new edition of Arimoto’s first and long out-of-print photobook Portrait of Tibet (published by Visual Arts, 1999) under the title Tibet, which includes a number of previously unpublished works.


Soon after this I went to Nepal. In Kathmandu, I encountered a Tibetan family who were on a pilgrimage to Dharamsala. My relationship with this family grew as we shared meals and our living space. As the days passed I began to feel a strong desire to see their homeland with my own eyes.

Looking back I realize that most of my twenties were spent with Tibet. Having started out as an empty vessel, it was Tibet and my experiences there that made me full.

Shinya Arimoto

Publisher: Zen Foto Gallery