Discover “Unknown Japan”

Discover “Unknown Japan”

We know Japan through TV and magazines. Hollywood has given us depictions of a feudal society and hi-tech Tokyo. But, do we really know what Japanese culture is like without the makeup and glitz? “Unknown Japan,” takes us into everyday Japan and delivers a slice of life beneath the rising sun.

This new exhibit will hang in the President’s Hall Gallery from Aug. 24 through Sept. 22. It contains more than 35 color photos taken by Alaina Doten, who teaches history at Santa Fe College. The photographs offer a broad spectrum of subjects, from the grandiose to the commonplace, and range from 5 x 7 to 16 x 20 inches.  

On the grand side you have pieces like “Mt. Fuji,” where the famous mountain towers in the background, bathed in the blue and purple light of the setting sun, while modern Yokohama sprawls across the foreground.

In “Metropolitan Art Space,” Doten captures the geometric beauty of this building’s interior. Her shot is taken from above and reveals how the architectural elements vary as you drop from one level to the next.

The commonplace is portrayed in the day-to-day photos that pepper the collection. These snapshots reveal the similarities and differences between our two societies. Doten took many of her photographs on the Japanese subway system. We see a mother watching her infant as it sleeps on a subway seat; a surfer with his board; children in uniform, probably riding to school; and workers packed inside subway cars like sardines.  

Architecture is another prevalent theme; there are several photos of buildings taken from both inside and out. Doten offers us teahouses, pagodas, tobacco shops, movie houses, temples and shrines. One shrine has a smiling monk with a surprising head of hair rather than the usual somber, shaved-head look we expect.

Sports get a nod with a photo of skiers carving the powder at an indoor ski slope. Nature takes center stage in photos of ice walls, forests and lakes. Work life, history, shopping and gardens: there is a little something for everyone in “Unknown Japan.”

For more information, contact Jayné Grant, Gallery Director, at 352-395-5464 or jayne.

~ This press release is by David Hackett, Communication Specialist, College Relations


  • Prof. Alaina Doten, 352-395-5120 ext. 6340,
  • Gallery Director Jayné Grant, Gallery Director, 352-395-5464 or
  • Julie Garrett, for help facilitating your story, 352-870-2924 or 352-395-5430 or