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23rd “1_WALL” Photography

Today, modes of artistic expression are becoming increasingly diversified, and together with artists who wholeheartedly seek to express themselves in new ways, Guardian Garden aspires to be a venue for considering new expressive modes. This aspiration derives from our hope that artists will overcome any hurdles in their way by offering them a gallery wall where they can express themselves freely, through their works.

Judging Results

Final Round of Judging

Grand Prize

Chihiro Kihara
Born in 1985 / Graduated from Doshisha University, Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Education and Culture.
All the same I just walked alone, like a rhinoceros’s horn. This circuit, in which I confront my objective itself, was open as though there is a connection between me and everything else.

Final Round of Judging

The third and final round of judging is conducted open to public viewing. The five finalists give presentations of their works on display and their plans for their solo exhibition if they win the Grand Prize. The judges discuss the merits of each finalist’s portfolio, works shown, and presentation, and together decide the winner of the Grand Prize.

“1_WALL” ExhibitionTue. May 18, 2021 - Sat. June 19, 2021

A group exhibition is held spotlighting the five finalists to emerge from the second round of judging. Each finalist is allocated a gallery wall (approx. 3.85m wide and 2.5m high) to display their works. Besides the works themselves, the judges also take into consideration how the finalists use their overall display space and how they show their works.

Success in the Second Round of Judging


  • "Back Then, In Takashi’s Car"

    Sei Katori

    Born in 1998

    Graduated from Hosei University, with a degree in Intercultural Communication.

  • "Circuit"

    Chihiro Kihara

    Born in 1985

    Graduated from Doshisha University, Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Education and Culture.

  • "Standing by the white water channel"

    Yasuhiro Sakuma

    Born in 1991

    Graduated from Japan Institute of Photography and Film.

  • "Distant echo"

    Disheng Zeng

    Born in 1995

    Currently studying at Tokyo College of Photography.

  • "Entwining a Rock"

    Manami Hasegawa

    Born in 1993

    Graduated from Tokyo Polytechnic University, Department of Photography.

Judges’ Encouragement Prizes

  • "Provisional Person"

    Mai Nakama

    Selected by Masashi Kohara

  • "Mountain God"

    Yoshiki Ogino

    Selected by Sayaka Takahashi

  • "Reproduction beriozka"

    Kouta Shiga

    Selected by Yoshihisa Tanaka

  • "Daytime Moon, Soul Sheath"

    Haruna Sugimoto

    Selected by Nao Tsuda

  • "Shaman‘s Eyes"


    Selected by Rika Noguchi

Second Round of JudgingWed. March 03, 2021

A portfolio review is held one-on-one between each entrant and a judge. Here, the entrants are given the opportunity to directly explain the motives behind their works or their production process. After all portfolio reviews are completed, the judges assemble to discuss their assessments and select the five finalists.

Success in First Round of Judging

Entrants Who Successfully Passed the First Round of Judging

  • Kohei Omachi
  • Yoshiki Ogino
  • Sei Katori
  • Chihiro Kihara
  • Wei Zihan
  • Risa Hisano
  • Yasuhiro Sakuma
  • Kouta Shiga
  • Sari Shibata
  • Sin Jeon
  • Haruna Sugimoto
  • Disheng Zeng
  • Mai Tanaka
  • Mai Nakama
  • Manami Hasegawa
  • Yuki Hatano
  • Fan Jie
  • Byeon Bin
  • Ro hi

Portfolio JudgingMon. January 25, 2021 - Tue. March 02, 2021

Judging is performed based on entrants’ work files and data. The judges, all prominent in their respective fields – design, illustration, photography, etc. – plus members of the secretariat, render their judgments from various perspectives. Twenty entrants are selected to continue on to the second round of judging. Comments by the judges are subsequently sent to all entrants. (In the event of numerous entrants, comment recipients will be decided by the members of the secretariat.)

Grand Prize Award Privileges


Solo Exhibition at Guardian Garden

300,000 JPY to prepare for the solo exhibition

Scheduled to take place in January-Februar,2021

The Grand Prize winner receives the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at Guardian Garden roughly one year after the “1_WALL” Exhibition. The gallery is provided free of charge, and the winner is presented 300,000 JPY to prepare for the show. Publicity assistance, including support in preparing a show leaflet, is also provided.


This series of exhibitions features former participants in “1_WALL” competitions who passed the first round of judging. All entrants meeting those qualifications are eligible. To date, exhibitions have focused attention on up-and-coming art directors, graphic designers, illustrators and photographers.


Finalists in “1_WALL” competitions (entrants who have passed the first and second rounds of judging) can have their name registered on the ARTIST page accessible on the Guardian Garden website.


  • Masashi Kohara


    As a curator at the Izu Photo Museum, he has organized exhibitions including “Nobuyoshi Araki Photobook Exhibition: Ararchy,” “Manabu Miyazaki: The Pencil of Nature” and “Tazuko Masuyama: Until Everything Becomes a Photograph.” He also curated “It’s a Small World: Imperial Festivals and Human Exhibitions.” He directed the documentary film “The Man Who Became a Camera: Photographer Takuma Nakahira,” and is recipient of the Koen Shigemori Photography Critic Award and The Photographic Society of Japan’s Scholastic Achievement Award, among others. He is an Associate Professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University and a Part-time lecturer at Kanagawa University and others.


  • Sayaka Takahashi

    (Gallery Director of PGI)

    Born in Chiba Prefecture. Studied Literature at Waseda University under Osamu Hiraki. In 1998, she participated as a volunteer at the Higashikawa International Photo Festival, and from 2003 through 2010 served as the festival’s on-site production leader and assistant director. Since the winter of 1998, she has been involved in work relating to photographic preservation and display at Photo Gallery International (PGI), where as Director she is in charge of exhibition planning and operation.

  • Yoshihisa Tanaka

    (Graphic Designer and Artist)

    Born in 1980. His major work to date includes VI planning for Tokyo Photographic Art Museum and other cultural facilities, art direction of the POST bookshop and the TOKYO ART BOOK FAIR, and periodic creation of works as an artist. He is also active as half of the artist duo “Nerhol,” together with sculptor Ryuta Iida.

  • Nao Tsuda


    Born in Kobe in 1976. Traveling the globe, through his camera lens he continuously depicts the ongoing relationship between man and nature tracing back to ancient times. Since 2001 the focus of his work has been numerous exhibitions both in Japan and abroad. His photo collections include SMOKE LINE (AKAAKA), Storm Last Night (AKAAKA) and Elnias Forest (handpicked). He currently serves as a Visiting Professor at Osaka University of Arts.

  • Rika Noguchi


    Born in 1971 in Saitama City, currently living in Naha, Okinawa. In 1994 she graduated from Nihon University’s College of Art, Department of Photography. She began production of photographic works during he university years, and has been active both in Japan and abroad mainly with exhibitions of her works. She has also participated in numerous international exhibitions of contemporary art, most recently the 21st Biennale of Sydney, “SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement” (2018).