Fading Borders
Photos by Lucienne van der Mijle

Fading Borders is a series of double portraits of Dutch people who live and work in Japan and of Japanese people who live and work in the Netherlands. Juxtaposing what had been diametrically opposed cultures, seeing is believing that the border between Japan and the Netherlands is steadily fading away.

A gardener on friendly terms with an ambassador? Unthinkable! Well, not any more. We live in a time when we seek common ground rather than differences. Yet we are more aware than ever of the distinct cultures. The Japanese call the effort to allow both cultures to meld harmoniously nemawashi: preparations must be made carefully before the tree can be planted.

The subjects of the portraits have always found their form, despite differences in philosophies and actions; sometimes by standing back and viewing their own culture or by creating their own new Japanese/Dutch culture. Communication and respect are always vital.

A series of staged images capturing the contrasts between the Japanese and Western culture punctuate the portraits. A comment by a Japanese friend of Lucienne van der Mijle was the inspiration for this series of photos. She thought it was odd that some Western women wear chopsticks in their hair, saying: “We don’t go around wearing a spoon and a fork in our hair!”

Following a career in theatre, Lucienne van der Mijle studied photography in Amsterdam and specialised in theatre photography. She made her first acquaintance with Japan in the eighties. In the early nineties, she was commissioned to photograph the percussion group Wadaiko Ichiro. She has since created photographic series of various Asian percussion groups (Yamato – The Drummers of Japan) and contemporary dance and sword-dancing companies. In 2000, Lucienne van der Mijle created the documentary “Fishermen's lives in Hirado and Vlissingen” in which she captured the lives of fishing families.


「消え行く境界線」(Fading Borders)は、日本で暮らし働くオランダ人と日本人パートナー、またはオランダで生活し働く日本人とオランダ人パートナー、これら異なる二つの文化の人々を組み合わせて構成した肖像写真の作品展です。全く異なっているはずのオランダと日本の2つの文化の境目がだんだん見えなくなっていくのが体験できるでしょう。