Emi Anrakuji studied painting at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Japan. Shortly after her graduation, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor which deeply affected her eyesight. During a 10-year recovery, she began to make block prints and taught herself photography. Anrakuji takes a uniquely obsessive interest in her own body and explores photography through intimate images of herself, which could be understood as a result of her long-time hospitalisation. In 2006, she was awarded the 22nd Higashikawa New Photographer Award presented by the Higashikawa International Photo Festival.
Anrakuji currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.
Anrakuji’s work is an ongoing projects of self-portrait. The work is starkly self-revelatory but at the same time conceals much and leaves much to the viewer’s imagination. In her work, she often posed naked in front of camera or mirror, with objects associated with femininity and youth, such as dolls, flowers and sex toys. While her body is often fully or partially exposed, her face cannot be seen as it is always out of the frame or covered by her hair. Her work can be seen as self-exploratory, but also voyeuristic, suggestive of being viewed from some hidden places.