The group was founded against the backdrop of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs and in a time of post-war austerity. Their multi-layered installations embraced sound recording, photography and film, together with artist-designed sets, specially composed music and dance.

Many of the group’s fourteen members were self-taught, and as a result distanced themselves from the traditional artistic culture in Japan. Co-founder Katsuhiro Yamaguchi described them as Bauhaus without the building.

Jikken Kobo were active between 1951 and 1958 and their members included Toru Takemitsu, Kazuo Fukushima, Joji Yuasa, Hiroyoshi Suzuki, Keijiro Sato, Takahiro Sonoda, Ririko Hayashi, Hikaru Hayashi and Toshi Ichiyanagi.