• Sohei Nishino is known for his extraordinary dioramas of major cities around the world. Having made large and impressive works of Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, Istanbul, Havana, Rio di Janeiro to name just a few, he has in recent years turned towards nature and landscapes as his subject.

    "I arrive in a new city, I go to the highest point to command a view of the city. Then I start walking every day, every single day, with a local map in hand. Sometimes I walk with local people, sometimes I walk alone. I always allow chance and coincidence to play a big role and shape my experience with the city and its inhabitants."  — Sohei Nishino

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, Sohei found he spent more time in Japan than he had in a long-time and, having already accomplished the challenge of portraying Mount Everest, he chose the majestic Mount Fuji as his muse.


  • Sohei Nishino, Mountain Line, Fuji, 2022

    Sohei Nishino

    Mountain Line, Fuji, 2022

    From his studio in Heda, Japan, Sohei Nishino has an amazing view out to Mount Fuji (Fuji-san), the highest mountain in Japan, rising to 12,388 feet. 


    Having not produced work in Japan for several years, Sohei found himself looking out to the volcano each day as the Covid-19 lockdown continued, and decided to take on the challenge of making a piece of work focusing on this iconic, dormant volcano which last erupted in 1707. 


    Its distinctive, sloping silhouette is steeped in Japanese culture and history, and holds something of a mythical status in Japanese society and is an quintessential element in Japanese folklore and art history. Named after the Buddhist fire goddess Fuchi, the volcano is the holiest of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” and is sacred to the Shinto goddess Sengen-Sama, whose shrine is found at its summit. It is revered by Buddhists as a gateway to another world.


    And so, in 2021, Sohei embarked on the long journey to create a superlative piece of work on this iconic Japanese symbol. He spent some three months walking up and down the paths of Fuji, documenting the bustling activities of Buddhist priests, families and visitors who make the pilgrimage up to the summit year round. With Japan in isolated lockdown, Fuji took on a new role to comfort and inspire the people that came to climb its slopes. One can see in the detail, the variety of people who come and find succour during their ascent, taking the time to think and gaze at the wonderful views afforded by its elevation.


    The climb is steep and can take anything up to 10 hours.  Sohei climbed Fuji on several occasions during the official climbing season which is only two months long, July and August, when most of the snow has melted. He climbed it also at night, as many do, and these moments are illustrated by the dark areas in the piece, the pathways sometimes illuminated by flame torches. The sight of the sun rising as one approaches the summit is inspiring and it is through Sohei’s inimitable style that we see how beautiful it must be on his slow purposeful progression towards the morning horizon.


    As with all his collage work, Sohei then spent another three months in his studio assembling the 25,000 individual photographs as one giant collage, creating his own personal and contemporary vision of Mount Fuji, inspired by the fine art of the Yamato-e, the genre of painting that first flourished during Japan’s Heian period(794–1185), an era of rich cultural activity when the focus shifted towards Japanese subject matter and motifs.



  • "I think that making a print is the ultimate conclusion to a photograph. Putting your own work onto paper, but also the whole process right up until that point - that is the work: seeing it all through.

    I take all the photos that I have shot as my raw materials, so that I can use them in making my work. If I didn't print everything out from beginning to end , for me, it would be like the work wasn't complete. So, it is not that I'm creating the work by selecting images, it is actually more like a process of elimination. This feels like the meaning of printing, to me personally."


    — Sohei Nishino

  • Beginning at the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine on August 26 and lasting two days, the Yoshida Fire Festival marks the end...

    Beginning at the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine on August 26 and lasting two days, the Yoshida Fire Festival marks the end of the climbing season on Mt. Fuji. In the evening hours, carriers known as Seko, bring two portable shrines, the Myojin Omikoshi and the Oyama Omikoshi, to O-tabi-sho,their resting spot for the night. Around the same time, locals set fire to the 70+ giant torches made of pine cones standing 3 metres tall, as well as the torches of every household. The city becomes illuminated and the fires glow and burn late into the night. The festival and all of its details have remained unchanged for centuries, and every year the central ritual of honouring Mt. Fuji remains its unwavering focus.

  • Fuji sankei mandara (mandala), Hanging scroll, Muromachi period (sixteenth century)

    Fuji sankei mandara (mandala)

    Hanging scroll, Muromachi period (sixteenth century)

    Ink and colours on silk.

    Located at the Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine


    During the sixteenth century, Japan's temples and shrines began producing pilgrimage mandalas (sankei mandara), paintings whose primary purpose was to encourage travel and contributions to sacred sites. These are pictorial maps depicting specific sites and portray the roads, bridges, and landscapes leading to them, as well as each site's origin history (engi), the sacred rituals in the place, and the pleasures to be enjoyed in the surrounding area.

    Sohei Nishino cites these sixteenth century mandalas as a big influence on how he conceived of the Fuiji Diorama. In his own words, "There was some doubt about how many artists would tconvey Mt. Fuji as the subject, but in my research, I called it Kinumoto's Colored Fuji Mandala and Fuji Sansho Mandala."

  • 'When it comes to making prints, I make a contact sheet out of the data (the thousands of photographs that...

    "When it comes to making prints, I make a contact sheet out of the data (the thousands of photographs that I have taken) which I then print. And I then cut out the individual images by hand, picture by picture, to create the original collage. 

    I am guided both by the physical connection of having been in the place and the connections created in my memory. I am guided by my memories. From sewing together those threads of my memories, a net of many thousands of threads accumulates, so that it’s like they are coming together into a single image.

    This process takes time: gradually fixing your memories through the images, that's how I feel the work is created.


    — Sohei Nishino




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