KamaitachiPhotographs by Eikoh Hosoe
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Eikoh Hosoe's groundbreaking Kamaitachi was originally released in 1969 as a limited-edition photobook of 1,000 copies. A collaboration with Tatsumi Hijikata, the founder of ankoku butoh dance, it documents their visit to a farming village in northern Japan and an improvisational performance made with local villagers, inspired by the legend of kamaitachi, a weasel-like demon who haunts rice fields and slashes people with a sickle. Hosoe photographed Hijikata's spontaneous interactions with the landscape and the people they encountered. A seductive combination of performance and photography, the two artists enact an personal and symbolic investigation of Japanese society during a time of massive upheaval. In 2005, in close consultation with the artist, Aperture released a limited-edition facsimile in homage to the original. In this 2009 edition, Aperture is honored to reinterpret this paragon of Japanese bookmaking, now including four never-before-published images, a new text by preeminent Japanese scholar Donald Keene, and essays by Eikoh Hosoe and Suzo Takiguchi. Available for the first time in an affordable trade edition, this version was painstakingly reworked by renowned artist Ikko Tanaka, designer of the original, shortly before his death.
EIKOH HOSOE (born in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, 1933) is an integral part of the history of modern Japanese photography; he remains a driving force not only for his own work, but also for his efforts as a teacher and ambassador, fostering artistic exchange between Japan and the rest of the world. Hosoe is represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. He lives in Tokyo.
DONALD KEENE (essay) is a Columbia University Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature.
SHUZO TAKIGUCHI (essay, 1903—1979) was a poet and art critic, credited for having introduced Surrealism to Japan at the end of the 1920s.