Even as a teenager, when I received pictures from a Japanese pen pal of her school trip to Kyoto, looking at the photographs of gently curving temple roofs and pagodas gave me a deep feeling, a hitherto unknown longing to visit this ancient, venerable imperial city with its architectural aesthetics one day. After completing my business studies, I travelled to the land of my longing for the first time in the early 1980s – and how could it have been otherwise, a planned short stay in Kyoto turned into several years. I decided to study the country in depth, immersed myself in Japanese society, learnt the language and years later took up a degree in Japanese Studies.

  Hartmut Pohling

Finally founded the Japan Photo Archiv, a collection of self-photographed images on Japanese culture, history and society, a rather rare specialisation at the time, which therefore brought me quite a few enquiries from publishers and picture editors. However, with the introduction of digital photography, there were suddenly a lot of people who wanted to join in. Nevertheless, the archive was not only maintained, but also expanded and gradually adapted to current technical and organisational requirements. Today, the Japan Photo Archiv contains almost 250,000 images, of which around 20,000 are available for viewing on the website.