Ten photographs by Akimitsu Takagi enter the collections of the musée du quai Branly in Paris.


Last Friday I had the pleasure of presenting ten black and white prints of photographs by Akimitsu Takagi to the musée du quai Branly in Paris. They were received by Christine Barthe, head of the photographic collections unit. For the first time in their history, these images are entering the collections of a major international cultural institution, a French museum. The prints were made by Pierluigi ‘Pilou’ Giannetti in Lyon.

The value of Akimitsu Takagi’s testimony recognised

The Musée du Quai Branly’s acquisition of Akimitsu Takagi’s photographs is a major recognition of their author. Firstly, of the documentary value of his account of the tattooing world and its players in Tokyo in the second half of the 20th century. Secondly, for the sociological significance of his view of the tattooed population, particularly women. Finally, the images stand out for their aesthetic value and the quality of the shots. They reveal the photographer behind the writer.

A commission of cultural experts

Before joining the collections of the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, a jury has determined the relevance of the acquisition of these photographs. This acquisition committee, which meets several times a year, is made up of a panel of experts. The jury is made up of professionals from the world of culture in France. It is chaired by the President of the institution and includes the Musée du Louvre among its members.

Tattooing and the musée du quai Branly, a long history

The musée du quai Branly is no stranger to the subject of tattooing. In 2014, it organised the biggest exhibition on the subject in France: “Tatoueurs, tatoués“. It was a huge public success. After 18 months on show, it has attracted more than 700,000 visitors. The exhibition then travelled around the world. It’s a journey that continues today in Spain, in the museums of the Caixa Foundation.

Who would have thought that these images, forgotten in the family library, photographs taken by an amateur writer-photographer, could one day achieve such recognition. And what’s more, outside Japan?