🔶“the medium = art + message”
Through collaborations with publishers, MEDIA ART LEAGUE works on publishing activities conceived by the artists themselves, under the motto “the medium = art + message”. MEDIA ART LEAGUE functions as a creative forum of specialists on a project-by-project basis while providing and/or enhancing concepts, editing, design, DTP.
At the core of MEDIA ART LEAGUE is Miro Ito —artist, author and editor— developing universal messages and forms of heritage linking the wisdom of East and West through the exploration of cultural heritage on the Eurasian continent.
We aspire to see our chronicles function as “windows” to foster mutual understanding, on the crest of the contemporary media environment’s wave of freely and easily transcending cultural & societal boundaries to achieve truly multicultural and multilingual messages. We seek to promote art as “the medium = the message” to encourage empathy and compassion that become wellsprings of creative interaction enabling true communication of the heart & mind, transcending barriers, boundaries and differences between East and West as well as North and South.
※See《Miro Ito — Profile》
🔸“The Medium is the Message” in Multilateral Communications
Under the motto “the medium is the message” (M.McLuhan), MEDIA ART LEAGUE emphasizes and leverages high quality and effectiveness in multilateral communications. After all, languages are much more than mere skills and tools; they convey and even enhance the power of the message.
MEDIA ART LEAGUE is a specialized triaxial team based in: Asia (Japan), Europe, and North America. The content we handle transcends art, culture, media and academic studies/theses.
※See《Profile of Andreas Boettcher》《International Communications》for details.
🔸Conceived, Produced & Published: Media Art League
🔸Edited: Japan Authentic Heritage Initiative
🔸Author: Miro Ito
🔸English Editing & Translations: Andreas Boettcher
– Signs of the Intangible—Body-mind-scapes of Japan’s 1400 Years of Performing Arts, Media Art League/Japan Authentic Heritage Initiative, 2023 (Japan)
Download Flyer: sings_of_the_intangible_by_miroito_230519_compressed
Conceived, Produced & Edited: Media Art League
🔸Author: Miro Ito
– Encyclopedia of Japanese Family Crests: 1400 Years of Beauty & Tradition (Nihon no Kamon to Seishi: Dentohbi to Keifu), Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing, 2013 (Japan)
– Encounter with the Fundamentals of Life in Nara (Kokorono Sumika Nara – Inochino Kongen Narumono to no Deai ) (all text & photos), Random House Kodansha, 2010 (Japan)
– ManzaiRaku: Mannojo Nomura + Miro Ito (photographs/text by M. Ito), Nippon Camera, 2004 (Japan)
Book Reviews & Interviews
🔶Book Reviews (Name of magazine / Issue) – click toggles for article
Weekly Toyo Keizai (Japan) / Issue: June 26/2010
Haven of the Heart: Nara Author: Miro Ito
Translated by Andreas Boettcher
Author Miro Ito’s photographs strike a chord close to the core of Japan’s religions that permeates the historic strata of Nara’s temples and shrines; each of her images has an atmosphere that seems to make the existence of deities tangible.
These are highly artistic images worthy of large coffee-table books. However, in keeping with the author’s desire of making this volume accessible to a wider audience, it is put together in regular-sized photo-essay format. Nonetheless, the impact of the photographs is not lost, vividly conveying the author’s impressions of “the haven of the heart, Nara”. A lot of care went into the artwork of the book jacket design; and if one removes it, one finds an unexpected golden embossed image on the book surface.
It is also fascinating that this book includes messages of some of Nara’s representative scholars such as Abbot Emeritus Kosei Morimoto of the Todaiji Temple, Myogen Nishiyama of the Toshodaiji Temple, Taizen Tsujimura, the head monk of the Gangoji Temple as well as Akio Okamoto, Chief Shinto priest of the Kasuga-taisha Shrine. Although their ability to easily speak about how to lead one’s life is astonishing, each of their words reaches heart of the reader.
With this year being the 1300th anniversary of’ Nara’s establishment (under its original name of Heijokyo), the message of this book is even more appropriate.
Weekly Toyo Keizai (Japan) / Issue: November 27/2004
[This Week’s Recommendation]
ManzaiRaku: Extensively and leisurely observing, to the farthest horizon…
Works of Mannojo Nomura by Miro Ito
Published by Nihon Camera / JPY3,990
Profile of Miro Ito
Photographer/author. After graduating Keio University (major: aesthetics and fine art history), she studied philosophy at the Ruhr University in Bochum as well as photography and applied art in the faculty of communication design at Essen University in Germany.
Portrait of a young kyogen master whose career once flourished…
(reviewed by Akiko Moriyama, Professor of the Musashino University of Art, translated by Andreas Boettcher)
One might wonder why Japanese society needs kyogen master Mannjo Nomura on the cusp of the 21st century. With every flip of the page in the photo book “ManzaiRaku”, a deep emotion starts to stir. The prelude to Nomura’s great success was his stage direction of the closing ceremony of the Nagano Winter Paralympics in 1998. Since then he has had a strikingly successful career that took off with his own initiatives such as “Shingigaku” and “Mask Road” projects in 2001.
His “Shingigaku” was a recreation of gigaku (*1) performances with 23 masks that were replicas of originals preserved in the Shoso-in Treasury of the Todaiji Temple (*2). While his Shingigaku performance was expanded to South and North Korea as well as the United States, his family’s school of “Yorozu Kyogen” performed in several European and American cities. Moreover, he endeavoured to develop new genres such as “Kaidan Kyogen (kyogen of ghost stories)”, “Onna Kyogen (kyogen by women) as well as “Reproduction: Okuni Kabuki” until his death on 10th June 2004.
Miro Ito started to photograph Mannojo Nomura at his Shingigaku perfomance in Washington D.C. in 2002, while she was residing in the United States. Her digital images succeed in capturing the steep career of this visitor’s (*3) last years. Nomura’s candle burned out before he could become the 8th head of the traditional kyogen family of Manzo Nomura, whose family guidance is “Extensively and Leisurely Observing, to the Farthest Horizon…”.
At the end of this volume, 66 people have paid their respective tributes, including Yasuhiro Nakasone (Chairman of the Japan-Korea Cooperation Committee) (*4). Each of their messages contains expectation as well as sorrow. Mannojo’s own words clearly explained why: “the 21st Century is said to be the Asian Era. Shingigaku is capable of conveying what Asia is, and it heralds the advent of an era of sharing culture rather than exchanging it” (quote from Mannojo Nomura’s book Mask road : maboroshi no gigaku saigen no tabi [literally: Mask road: journey to the revived phantom of gigaku]).
It certainly seems to be the common desire of Mannojo Nomura, Miro Ito, and all the others involved in this book, that Japan foster cultural exchange by sending its sharable culture westward along the Silk Road.
(*1) Gigaku is probably the oldest Asian mask theater.
(*2) The Shoso-in Treasury (at the Todaiji Temple) in Nara has a collection of treasure from the 8th century.
(*3) Marebito is the original Japanese term (literally, visitor).
(*4) Former prime minister of Japan (1982-1987)
– Asahi Camera (Issue: April 2010)
– Nihon Camera (Issue: December 2003)
🔶Interviews (on Miro Ito’s photo essay)
– Mainichi Newspaper (Issue: June 24, 2010)
– Nara Shimbun Newspaper (Issue: May 13, 2010)
”Home of Life and Prayer “Nara(Book), Yomiuri Shimbun Newspaper (Evening Edition/Issue: March 23, 2010)
Title: ”Home of Life and Prayer “Nara(Book)
Translated by Andreas Boettcher
Miro Ito, photographer and author who has mainly been active in Europe and the United States, published her photo essay “Kokoro no sumika nara: inochino kongen narumono to no deai (literally, Haven of the Heart, Nara: Encounter with the fundamentals of life)” by Random House Kodansha (*1) price: JPY 1,905 (excl. tax).
One of her images from a sequence of butoh performances was selected as official poster for the 2006 Venice Biennale – Dance Section. While she has successfully been active overseas, she encountered the events of 9.11 in NYC. Immediately after that, she found the message expressed by Abbot Emeritus Shoen Hashimoto at his inaugural address dedicated to the Great Buddha: “equality and solidarity” and “tolerance and perseverance” on the internet and “was moved by the universal appeal of these words that transcend the diversity of religions”.
In an endeavour to research Japan’s rich spiritual culture, she temporary relocated there in 2004. While visiting Nara’s shrines and temples and participating in its Buddhist rituals, she became convinced that this city is a haven of life and prayer preserving teachings of “what it means to live and let live”, where “the conviction that Nara is a haven of life and prayer preserving the teachings on what it means to live and let live”, while visiting the city’s shrines and temples and participating in its Buddhist rituals.
The book includes some 40 photographs of the “Omizutori (*2)” ritual of Todaiji’s Nigatsudo Hall, ceremonies of Toshodaiji as well as Gangoji Temple. Interviews with such prominent personages as Kosei Morimoto (Abbot Emeritus of Todaiji Temple) and Akio Okamoto (head priest of Kasuga-taisha Shrine) are also introduced.
She is planning to publish her second book related to Nara and stated that she “wants to tackle this as her life’s work since the spiritual culture in Nara is the common heritage of all peoples.” (by Yasuo Hayakawa, The Yomiuri Shimbun)
*1) Random House Kodansha is now known as Takeda Random House since April 2010.
*2) The formal name of “Omizutori” is Shunie (February Ritual).
Photography Textbooks & Essays
Conceived, Produced & Edited by Media Art League
Author: Miro Ito
– Photographer’s Bible: (Cutting-Edge Photography: Themes, Composition, Lighting & Fine-tuning), Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing, 2012 (Japan)
– Heart of Photography: Rules and Aesthetics in Photography (Gokui de manabu Shashin gokoro) (originally edited by Asahi Camera), Film Art, 2011 (Japan)
– Miseru Shashinjjutsu (Enthralling Photography: Theme, Composition, Technique) (conceived, written & photographed by Miro Ito), selected for inclusion in The Japan Library Association’s official reading list), MdN Corporation, 2007 (Japan)
🔶Essays on Photography
– Computer & Design (contributing author, edited by JAGDA: Japanese Graphic Designers Association), 2002 (Japan)
– The Art of Photography in the Digital Era: Views on Photography in the future (Digital jidai no Shashinjutsu) “(co-authored), 2000 (Japan)
– European Visions of Sensuality Photo art book which was followed by an exhibition at Melkweg Foundation, in Amsterdam (conceived, produced, edited & written by Miro Ito), Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing, 1995 (Japan)
Lectures & Workshops
– Two Sages of Japan: Prince Shōtoku and Emperor Shōmu by Miro Ito (held by The Industry Club of Japan), February 2023 (Japan)
– Two Sages of Japan: Prince Shōtoku and Emperor Shōmu by Miro Ito: As a commemorative event of the Nara Chrysanthemum Doll Exhibition (held by Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan/Nara Prefecture), October 2021 (Japan)
– Participation as panelist to the Nara Silk Road Symposium 2019
（co-organised by Nara Prefecture; Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism of Japan）
– DNA of Japanese Traditional Architecture by Miro Ito: As part of a photo exhibition, Edo/Tokyo–Seen through its edifices (JCII Collection)
Consulate-General of Japan, April 2019 (USA)
– Artist Talk with two short film screenings, an affiliated program to the exhibition, Byzantine and Christian Museum, January 2019 (Greece)
– El Arte como medio es un mensaje para la Universalidad. Camino de Luz y Esperanza: el sendero euroasiatico de la sabiduria, Museum Library, Museo Nacional de las Culturas del Mundo, Mexico City, November 2018 (Mexico)
– Road of Light and Hope: A Eurasian Trail of Wisdom (Caminho de Luz e Esperanca: A trilha eurasians da sabedoria)” Department of Japanese, Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), July 2018 (Brazil)
– The Last of the Samurai: the Tokugawa Shogunate delegation and the Iwakura Mission to the USA, a short lecture for the 150th anniversary of Meiji Restoration, Japanese Canadian Culture Centre, June 2018 (Canada)
– The Last of the Samurai: the Tokugawa Shogunate delegation and the Iwakura Mission to the USA, a short lecture for the 150th anniversary of Meiji Restoration, Department of Asian Languages and Studies, Northwestern University, April 2018 (USA)
– Art as Media a Message for Universality: presentation for Visual and Material Perspectives on East Asia, Department of Art History, University of Chicago, November 2017 (USA)
– Photography of Todaiji Sculptures: Art as Media is a Message for Universality, Arts & Letters Hall, Department of Art History, DePaul University, Chicago, October 2017 (USA)
– Artist Talk, an affiliated event to the exhibition, Road of Light and Hope, Japan Foundation, Toronto, May 2017 (Canada)
ーArt as a Medium for Universality: Lecture & short movie screenings for “Visual and Material Perspectives on East Asia” Workshop, Department of History of Art and Architecture, University of Chicago, November 2017 (USA)
ーLecture commemorating Ito’s book publication (Gokui de manabu Shashin gokoro by Film Art), Yaesu Book Center, 2012 (Japan)
ーCreative lecture for designers and product design staff of MAZDA, Mazda Research Center, 2003 (Japan)
ー Academic session & presentation of Ito’s thesis Analogue Recollections in a Digital Cosmos at the IAEA (International Association of Empiric Aesthetics) International Congress, Takarazuka University of Art and Design, 2002 (Japan)
ー Working Artist: Lecture at Barnard College, in New York, 2002
ー Photographing Women: Lecture & slide-show for American Women Photographers Association (PWP), Air Gallery, New York, 2001 (USA)