Eighty-nine-year-old Kimiko Nishimoto is not the usual octogenarian you see in Japan.
Taking up photography at 72, Nishimoto has risen to online stardom with her humorous selfies and is now holding her first exhibition in Tokyo.
In the "Asobokane" (Let's have fun) exhibit, held at Epson Imaging Gallery Epsite in Shinjuku Ward through Jan. 18, visitors can see 89 of her works, including self-portraits of Nishimoto dressed up as a frog, appearing to run at the speed of a car and being dumped in a garbage bag as well as colorful still photos of everyday objects like mushrooms and onions.
"I improvise everything. I don't prepare anything and just use stuff that is around to take photos," said Nishimoto. "I just want to take photos that are interesting and funny."
Born in 1928 in Brazil, Nishimoto returned to Japan aged 8. She ran a hair salon until she decided to follow her two brothers to become a track cyclist at 22 and left her career altogether at 27 upon marriage.
She was leading a life as a "regular housewife" in Kumamoto Prefecture with no links to the art world, as her family puts it, until one day after she turned 72, her friend asked her to join a photography course taught by her own son and art director Kazutami Nishimoto.
Looking back, "It's almost like all her doors sprung wide open when she turned 72," said Kazutami at a press gathering in Tokyo.
She was never the humorous type at home despite her comical works, according to Kazutami.
After finding joy in photographic expression and making new friends, she soon became deeply engaged in her art and held her first exhibition at the Chibajo Branch of Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art in 2011.
"I am interested in many things," Nishimoto said, giving illustrations and crafts as examples, although her priority apparently goes to photography.
"No matter how old I get, I want to continue taking photos," she said.
The exhibition is admission free. The Epsite gallery is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day except Sundays and is closed on the yearend/New Year holidays between Dec. 28 and Jan. 4.