Hidemi Ogata Photo Exhibition “Yokozuna Hakuho”

Hidemi Ogata Photo Exhibition “Yokozuna Hakuho”

2023.09.30(Sat) – 2023.10.05(Thu)

During the period from September 30, 2023 (Saturday) to October 5, 2023 (Thursday), YUGEN Gallery will host the photo exhibition "Yokozuna Hakuho" by Hidemi Ogata.

"This moment is everything, this instant is eternity." This exhibition showcases photographs of the 69th Grand Sumo Champion, Hakuho (currently known as Miyagino Oyakata), captured by the renowned photographer Hidemi Ogata. Ogata has been photographing legendary icons such as musicians and artists for over 30 years. This exhibition includes approximately 20 valuable shots, including original prints from the 2011 photo book "Yokozuna Hakuho"

Photographing to Connect with Creators


Hidemi Ogata, born and raised in Kumamoto Prefecture by  her architect father and her mother who owned a dressmaking store, displayed creative talent from a young age. She had a strong passion for creativity, and even during her elementary school years, she received special recognition in a nationwide painting competition for her talent.

During her adolescence, she became deeply immersed in punk rock and glam rock, being particularly influenced by bands like The Clash, The Stranglers, and David Bowie. She delved not only into their music but also their ideologies. In an interview, when asked about Yukio Mishima, she said that David Bowie's mention of Mishima made her read all of Mishima's works, even though she was not a "literary girl." It was during this time that she developed an interest in capturing the personas of musicians through photography.

She said, "I felt that photography was a means to engage with musicians as equals and have dialogues with them, rather than a tool to realize my own creativity."

During a critical moment in her life, Ogata was involved in a traffic accident and suffered life-threatening injuries. Her mother brought a rock magazine to her hospital room to uplift her spirits, and she found the names of photographers like Masayoshi Sukita (known for his work with David Bowie) and Penny Smith (who photographed The Clash) in the photo credits. She felt a surge of excitement, almost like her blood was boiling, as she realized that through photography, even Japanese or women could also stand on equal footing with these creators.

After graduating from high school, she moved to Tokyo and became an apprentice to the photographer Kaoru Izima. Later, she moved to the United States, particularly New York, where she developed close friendships with artists like Andy Warhol. She photographed portraits of black individuals she met at the legendary Paradise Garage club. Upon returning to Japan, she made her debut in 1995 with the photo book "Blankey Jet City." Her work mainly focused on portraits of artists such as Tadanori Yokoo, Sayoko Yamaguchi, and Richard Stark (co-founder of Chrome Hearts). She also worked extensively in fashion and advertising.

At the same time, she handled photoshoots for celebrities both in Japan and internationally. In 2018, she ventured to Israel and Palestine for a photoshoot with Pastor Sekino Kazuhiro, the chief priest of the Lutheran Tokyo Church. Through her photography, particularly portraiture, she has consistently conveyed the dignity of human existence.


The Miracle of Meeting Hakuho


"I have always followed my intuition and met my subjects as if it were fate. These were people I was meant to encounter. I believe in the miracle of these encounters," Ogata reflects.

Although she had an instinct to "Sumo is photogenic. I want to take photos of sumo wrestlers. " , she had no prior knowledge of sumo, then at the suggestion of a sumo fan friend, she attended a sumo practice at the Miyagino Stable in April 2007. After the practice, as other wrestlers left, Hakuho, who was an ozeki ( immediately below yokozuna in the ranking system), approached Ogata and spoke to her.

"Upon first meeting Hakuho, I saw a beautiful sumo wrestler with a warm aura, having a complexion like cherry blossoms. While my sumo-loving friend had told me his name, I couldn't match his face with the name. Nevertheless, his aura made it immediately clear that he was the one."

From that moment, Ogata captured Hakuho's journey: his rise to the rank of yokozuna after defeating Asashoryu, his first yokozuna rope-tying ceremony, and his performance at the Meiji Shrine. Her joy came from preserving these moments, but her lens also captured more than just the radiance.

Capturing the Essence Beyond the Spotlight

Amidst the scandals within the sumo world, Hakuho stood as a pillar of strength, silently enduring the criticisms and maintaining his daily training routine even when empty seats filled the arena. In 2010, there was great anticipation for him to surpass the 69 consecutive wins record held by Futabayama. However, he faced defeat against the Kisenosato, missing the record. Ogata recalls the disappointment and solitude he felt.

The day after his defeat, with no reporters or visitors in the stable, Ogata, Hakuho, and his stablemaster shared a meal. Later, they spent time together alone in Hakuho's room, where he confided in Ogata about his loneliness and struggles. This was the side of Hakuho that the public rarely saw, and Ogata cherished the opportunity to capture these intimate moments.

"A smile shown outside the ring, a gentle personality that doesn't boast and is loved by anyone. I believe that in addition to his record of 63 consecutive wins, Hakuho is a Yokozuna who will go down in history for his humanity. By capturing the eternal image of Yokozuna Hakuho through photography, I couldn't be happier if his energy, to the extent that he seems like a human becoming divine, reaches people all over the world," says Ogata.

Ogata recalls that when she was 18 years old and had recovered from a near-fatal accident, she asked a famous fortune teller in his hometown of Kumamoto if she could become a photographer, and was told this.

"If you appreciate shadows, you can become one."

In her early work, Ogata photographed black individuals she met in a New York club using only a single light in a condominium room, creating the series "my fabulous friends." She continues this approach in her ongoing personal photo sessions, "Only One by Hidemi Ogata." Her subjects are not legendary icons but ordinary people. Ogata explains, "While photography naturally focuses on light, acknowledging and appreciating shadows allows me to capture a broader perspective beyond extremes."In the substantial shadows that emerge, the figures of ordinary people rise like sturdy buildings enduring the test of time.

“The body may perish someday, but energy remains eternal. The existence of humans is art.”

Ogata's photography focuses on the eternal nature of human existence, even in fleeting moments. Her lens captures Hakuho's exuberant victory roars after practice, the contorted expressions during his first rope-tying ceremony, and the relief he shows when with his parents from Mongolia.

Sumo, developed as a ritual to pray for peace, hides aspects of the wrestler's humanity that remain unseen by the public eye. Ogata's ability to respectfully enter these hidden realms for a moment combines documentary-style humanity with the elegance of fiction.

To the Photo Exhibition 'Yokozuna Hakuho' 

The photographs exhibited in this exhibition span from 2007 when I became a Yokozuna to 2010 when I achieved a record 63 consecutive wins.

It was a period when I embarked on my journey to become a Yokozuna, striving to possess not only physical prowess but also a combination of heart and technique. Looking back at each photo, I feel the intense passion of those times being rekindled.Hidemi Ogata is someone who, like me, dedicates themselves to their work with sincerity and passion. The works exhibited in this photo exhibition are the result of a clash between individuals who share the same aspiration. I sense that a 'Hakuho' image that none of you have seen before is depicted here.

I invite you all to see the image of 'Yokozuna Hakuho' captured by the photographer Hidemi Ogata with your own eyes, a portrayal of the 'eternal' Yokozuna Hakuho.

13th Generation Miyagino-sho (69th Generation Hakuho)

Exhibition Works

*Color photo: A precious shot of Yokozuna Hakuho entering the ring in the Shiranui style for the first time, with a different hairstyle as it is not a public event.
*Some of the exhibition works may be subject to change. Please understand.

Photo session information

A photo session by Hidemi Ogata will be held during the exhibition.

100,000 yen (tax included) per session.

Details such as how to make a reservation will be announced in due course.

About work sales

From September 15, 2023 (Friday), reservations for this exhibition will start on the YUGEN Gallery official website.

Since the number of works for sale is limited, we recommend that you make a reservation in advance.

In addition, the sales works will be exhibited at YUGEN Gallery from Saturday, September 30, 2023 to Thursday, October 5, 2023.

See the page below for details. (Click the image to go to the product sales page.)

Visitor Benefit Information


For those who answer the questionnaire form when visiting, we will present an original art book free of charge.
This is an original art book that compiles the exhibition works and exhibition statements in one volume, exclusively for this exhibition.

Hidemi Ogata Photo Exhibition "Yokozuna Hakuho" Art Book
Artist: Hidemi Ogata
B4 Oversized / List price 1,650 yen (tax included)

*Please note that the design of the art book may be subject to some changes.


Hidemi Ogata

Hidemi Ogata is a photographer born in Kumamoto Prefecture. After studying under photographer Kaoru Izima, she moved to the United States at the age of 20. In New York, she formed close relationships with artists like Andy Warhol. She photographed portraits of black individuals she met at the legendary Paradise Garage club. Upon returning to Japan, she made her debut in 1995 with the photo book "Blankey Jet City." Her work mainly focused on portraits of artists such as Tadanori Yokoo, Sayoko Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Hanada, Eikichi Yazawa, B'z, Tetsuya Komuro, THE YELLOW MONKEY, and many others. She travels through Europe and the Middle East to take photographs and is actively involved in talk live programs and other activities.


2023.09.30 (Sat ) - 2023.10.05 (Thu)


YUGEN Gallery


Totate International Building 3F, 2-12-19 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Opening Hours


*On the final day, it closes at 17:00

Closed on


Artist in Attendance

September 30th(Sat), October 5th(Thu)




*Please note that the session and opening hours may be subject to change without notice depending on the situation.