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To Japanese version Introducing Kjeld Duits

Born in the Netherlands, Kjeld Duits (41) has lived and worked in Japan since 1982. The Kobe earthquake of 1995 turned him into a journalist and photographer. He was so overwhelmed by the grief and destruction around him that he picked up a camera and started interviewing people. Many newspapers, radio and TV stations used his reports and launched him on a new career. Major Japanese TV networks such as NHK and TBS made documentaries of his experiences after the earthquake.

He is now the Japan correspondent for a number of daily newspapers in the Netherlands. Organizations like Associated Press, USA Today and Shukan Gendai magazine have published his work.

He has also worked on TV and radio programs for the BBC, NHK, and other stations. On Japanese TV, he sometimes appears as a "guest reporter." In addition to the Kobe Earthquake, he has covered the Taiwan Earthquake of 1999 and the earthquake that hit India on January 26, 2001.

Several books about the Kobe quake have used his photographs. His work has been displayed at expositions in Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece and Singapore. Two works, measuring no less than 8 x 2.5 meters, were even stolen during an exposition in the Netherlands; proof of the popularity of his photographs. Five awards have been awarded for his photographic work, mainly for his photographs of Japanese matsuri.

KIPS 2001 Exhibition: Matsuri

O-to Matsuri at Shingu, WakayamaA young Japanese woman models an ancient hairdo during the 'Comb Festival' (Kushi Matsuri) at Yasui Konpira-gu, Kyoto, Japan.

Kjeld's 7.2 meters (24 ft) of wall space proved to be a little too small for his 16 large photos of festivals in the Kansai region. They included the Aoi Matsuri, Kyoto Jidai Matsuri, Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka, Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, and O-to Matsuri in Shingu, Wakayama. With large photos crowding the wall, his exhibition looked quite spectacular. One reason why he likes festivals so much is that they are a celebration of life. We agree.

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Last modified: March 5, 2003