Fumi Ishino’s latest book is a tribute to Japanese culture from the late 80s and 90s

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Ishino’s second monograph combines found and archival images to recreate memories from his upbringing in Japan

For those of us who grew up in Japan in the late 80s and 90s, the images from Fumi Ishino’s latest photobook are immediately recognisable. Stills from broadcasts of the daily exercise routines that soundtracked our mornings; adverts for household cleaning products and kewpie mayonnaise (before it became a global food trend), and video-game renderings of familiar city streets. We see the quirky, flashy interiors of love hotels, nostalgic school uniform trends of baggy socks and burberry scarfs, and the country’s iconic lime-green public telephones, which, frankly, deserve a whole photo series for themselves.

Composed of found and archival images, neatly arranged into rows that reference the format of Japanese comic books, Index of Fillers is a recreation of the artist’s memories of growing up in Japan. Following on from his celebrated debut monograph Rowing a Tetrapod (MACK, 2017), the series expands on the alienated sense of cultural representation that the artist experienced living between Los Angeles and Tokyo. The limited edition of 30 handmade books is presented inside a woven plastic case – another nod to Japanese school culture – alongside a CD containing a video made in Ishino’s childhood room. 

The photobook is published by Assembly, a new platform co-founded by Ashlyn Davis Burns (former director of Houston Center for Photography) and Shane Lavalette (artist and former director of Light Work). A combination of a gallery, agency, publisher and creative studio, Assembly aims to support lens-based artists across the fine-art and commercial sectors. Its inaugural roster of artists includes David O. Alekhuogie, Poulomi Basu, Vasantha Yogananthan, and Fumi Ishino.

Index of Fillers by Fumi Ishino is published by Assembly.

Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.