Ms Toyoko Ito

Research project: Sagacho Exhibit Space: analysing innovations in art, systems and culture at Japan's pioneering alternative space, across the 1980s and 1990s


My research explores innovations in art, curation and supporting systems of artists made by Japan's so-called "first alternative space" - Sagacho Exhibit Space. Focusing on its early years between 1983 and 1990 and placing its activities in the corporate-led philanthropic culture of the time, I will examine the gallery's contributions to the art industry and the public. Archival, historical and interview-based research methods are being used as my methodology. The 1980s Japanese art has long been a neglected area, despite the recent global revisionism on post-war Japanese art. Filling this gap is the main objective of my PhD project.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Sagacho Exhibit Space: analysing innovations in art, systems and culture at Japan's pioneering alternative space, across the 1980s and 1990s
  • Research supervisor: Professor Fran Lloyd
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Stephen Barber


I have worked as an art journalist since 2002, specialising in British, European and Japanese art, and mainly writing for Japanese specialist magazines. I launched the art website, fogless: London art diary in 2001 (-2010). I have been London correspondent for Bijutsu Techo since 2005, and have covered more than 400 exhibitions. Since 2010, I have regularly contributed articles for the British Council Japan's website. The artists covered range from JMW Turner and Hokusai to post-YBA and post-Murakami generations.

In 2016, I co-curated an exhibition of the 2015 Turner Prize winner, Assemble, "Assemble: Community, Fantasy and Future" for Eye of Gyre, Tokyo.

In 2017, I joined the Visual & Material Culture Research Centre, Kingston School of Art as Research Associate, to contribute to research projects focused on post-war Japanese art. 

Areas of research interest

  • Contemporary Art
  • Alternative Exhibition Space
  • Gallery and Curatorial Practices
  • Post-war Japanese Art
  • Subculture in Japan
  • Arts Funding in Japan
  • Art and Business in Japan


  • MA, Computer Applications for the History of Art, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Postgraduate Diploma, History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London

Funding or awards received

  • 2018 - AHRC TECHNE Doctoral Training Studentship


A full list of my articles (up to June 2016: Japanese):

My articles in CiNii Articles Database (Japanese):

Selected Recent Articles

Ito, Toyoko (2018) A journey to trace the life of Edvard Munch, Bijutsu Techo, 1072 (10), pp. 4 - 19.

Ito, Toyoko (2018) A.K. Dolven Interview, Bijutsu Techo, 1072 (10), pp. 108 - 111.

Ito, Toyoko (2018) Emma Chambers Interview: A new territory of nude, Geijutsu Shincho, 69 (4), pp. 63 - 68.

Ito, Toyoko (2018) David Hockney's continually expanding new horizons, Geijutsu Shincho, 69 (3), pp. 54 - 55.

Ito, Toyoko (2017) Hokusai specialists interview: Asano Shugo x Timothy Clark, in Katsushika Hokusai, ed. Bijutsu Techo pp. 97-103.

Ito, Toyoko (2017) Report: La Biennale di Venezia 2017, Bijutsu Techo, 69 (7), pp. 44 - 55.

Ito, Toyoko (2017) Olafur Eliasson Interview, Bijutsu Techo, 69 (7), pp. 36 - 39.