My work in this series are monochromatic in order to depict the awing existence of traditional festivals and folk performing arts, and to express the importance of the continuation of these kinds of beautiful traditions.
Tens of thousands of festivals and folk art kinds are reportedly held in Japan. It was in the winter of 2013 when I encountered one of them, the Tamaseseri Festival, in Fukuoka and since then I have continued photographing various festivals and ceremonies all over Japan.
The main focus of my photography is on small festivals rooted in local communities. They are created, developed and continued with the determination of the local people and as outsiders we get a glimpse of the various subtleties of these local traditions even though we cannot fully understand them.
That incomprehensible yet alluring local uniqueness has a
sort of energy; like a magnetic field that attracts people to it, and connects people together. I believe that this energy — or magnetic field — is there because festivals contain the mysterious power of life and existence as a gift from the heavens. The power is created by prayer and, as such, like a darkness we can never see. It is, of course, something we cannot freely control; it falls upon us, leaving us to merely accept it.
“Tamafuri” is a word in the Japanese language that can be
very eye-opening in understanding what festivals mean to
Japanese people.“Tamafuri” means “to give vitality to the ‘tama’ (life;soul) through the act of ‘furi’ (swinging)”. In the distant past, our Japanese ancestors did not believe in a
physically permanent “tama”. For us living in modern society, where scientific views emphasise efficiency,festivals may seem to be irrational and weird.
Still, the reason why past generations continued to carry on festivals across Japan, sometimes at the risk of their own lives, is because they believed that the festival’s magnetic energy would restore the soul and spirit which aded during their daily lives.
The theme of this series of photographs is the power of human life and the energy of souls. I chose monochrome photography as my medium in order to emphasise the long history of the festivals that have be passed down through the ages. I hope that the spirit of these festivals is reflected in my work.