I do not clearly recall if it was when I was preparing for my father’s death after hearing that he had been diagnosed with cancer and only had a short time to live, or if it was when my child was born, that I learned about the valley where cancer patients gather. The spa of Tamagawa is deep in the rural mountains of Akita prefecture in northern Japan. The valley is filled with radioactive rocks and the ground temperature is high. The air is thick with sulfuric fumes from volcanoes from nearby volcanoes. When I look closely, I see people lying here and there on stretch of gray rock. People fighting cancer throw themselves at the mercy of the radiation that fills the valley and get exposed to the heat of the Earth. The scenery reminded me of Nirvana, the painting of supreme enlightenment. It is said that the painting, where Buddha lay in the center of ten great disciples in various styles, describes the stage where all Bonno (earthly desires) are entirely gone.
The visitors stay at the spa for long for healing sessions. Here, one’s background, occupation or wealth is something of little worth. It is as though even the concept of gender difference seems to fade away. Looking at the sight of a person walking toward the volcanic fumes within the valley. I could not feel the distress, but only the determination to prepare for the eternal peace. The river that divides this valley reminds us of the River Styx that borders this world and the next. The maids working at the spa reminds us of Amitabha, an infinite light that escort the dead to the other world. In the summer, bon-odori, a memorial dance service for the dead is held repeatedly. That is exactly "the last scene" that my grandmother told me in my childhood. As I was caught between anxiety and hope, I felt that I saw a representation of the Japanese view of life and death within this valley, and I returned to this place again and again relentlessly.
I stay there and seek wholeheartedly to feel the “brink” or the “loophole” that are invisible in the eye while sometimes I count my heartbeat or think about my father and my son.
1966 Born in Tokyo, Japan
Law department law subject, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan
Based in Tokyo.
The member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2016 "Ten Disciples" ZEN FOTO GALLERY (Tokyo, Japan)
2014 "Dried-up" ALBA GALLERY (Beijing, China)
2013 "THIRTEEN ORPHANS" Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Colorado, USA)
2012 "Double-dealing" ALBA GALLERY (Beijing, China)
2012 "THIRTEEN ORPHANS" ZEN FOTO GALLERY (Tokyo, Japan)
2011 "THIRTEEN ORPHANS" ZEN FOTO GALLERY (Beijing, China)
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS / FESTIVAL
2016 "Stories from the Camera" UNM Art Museum (New Mexico, USA)
2015 "Antagonism and Hexagonal Pattern" Gallery NIW (Tokyo, Japan)
2015 Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival (Kobe, Japan)
2015 FOCUS Photography Festival 2015 (Mumbai, India)
2014 La Quatrieme Image International Photo Festival 2014 (Paris, France)
2014 "How one thing leads to another" Houston Center for Photography (Texas, USA)
2014 "Critical Mass TOP 50 exhibition" Corden|Potts Gallery (San Francisco, USA)
2013 TOKYO PHOTO 2013 (Tokyo, Japan)
2013 "Pure 2013" Gallery TANTO TEMPO (Kobe, Japan)
2012 TOKYO PHOTO 2012 (Tokyo, Japan)
2012 "Japan Professional Photographers Society" Gallery Sirius, Fujifilm (Tokyo, Osaka)
AWARDS / ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
2015 Winner, EMERGING ASIAN PHOTOGRAPHY GRANT
2015 Finalist, HARIBAN Award (Japan)
2015 Shortlist, Athens Photo Festival (Greece)
2014 Winner, LensCulture Portrait Awards (USA)
2014 LensCulture best Black and White Photography the best 14 (USA)
2013 Winner, Photolucida’s Critical Mass TOP 50 (USA)
2013 Selected Portfolio, Review Santa Fe (USA)
2010 Selected Portfolio, Yokohama Photo Festival (Japan)
2016 Photography Book, New edition of “Ten Disciples” published by ZEN FOTO GALLERY
2015 Photography Book, “Ten Disciples” published by ZEN FOTO GALLERY, Tokyo
2012 Photography Book, “THIRTEEN ORPHANS” published by ZEN FOTO GALLERY, Tokyo
2011 Photography Book, “Bulgarian Rose “ Private published (Tokyo, Japan)
2007〜”Perspective of the World”, NEW ENERGY Magazine (Tokyo, Japan)
LFI magazine, Internazionale, The New Yorker, Index FOTO HUNGARY, WIRED, LensCulture, Feature Shoot, LENSCRATCH, LEICA M Magazine, EMAHO magazine, Huffington Post Italia, Art Photo Index, Photo Eye, Fraction Magazine Japan, Photographer Russia, Artisfied, ZHI JP知日03, Yishuz, Theory of crowds, Artinasia, Espal Fotographic, New Energy, La Quatrieme Image.
UNM University of New Mexico Art Museum (New Mexico, USA)
Dr Brau Daji Lad Museum (Mumbai, India)
ZEN FOTO GALLERY, Tokyo (http://www.zen-foto.jp/)