The cherry blossom season is now over, and next comes the time of spring rearing. These days, I have been visiting the towns and villages in the heart of mountains: peeking the act of sericulture, something that gives me mixed feelings of excitement and pensiveness. When I was a child, there was a tree behind the bank of a family property, which would leaf bowery leaves around this season. The tree would also produce berries and when ripened, they were irresistible secret treats of mine. I would stuff my whole mouth with the fruits and when the nectar starts to stain my white shirt, I would cringe and force myself down from the wont tree. At the same time, I would feel a small joy to discover a few fluffy and pale yellowish green pellets attached to the branches as I descend. Needless to say, this child had no idea about the connection of mulberry trees, silkworms and cocoons back then. Time past, I made a detour to a town famous for weaving, once upon a time a place where people had to go over a slap in order to reach there. On the edge of town, I saw a girl with a basket full of cocoons in her arms. She saw me too and noticed my big camera, her eyes showing a glimpse of interest. That did not last long though, as she snapped back to reality, she dashed back to the yard of her homestead, located ahead of a trail. As she ran, a cocoon rolled off from the basket; I picked it up, which was effulgently whiter than the soaring thunderheads on the tips of the mountains in the blue sky of midsummer afternoon.
Off the highway, turning left on the crossroad where there is a corner store on the right-hand side and then heading straight through a punch bowl, this silkworm farm locates at the dead end closed by three sided hills. The tiled roofs decorate gable parapets and the eaves are doubled with storm doors. The Storm doors are equally spaced and paper screens can be seen through those gaps. There is a mulberry field in front of the trail; more than half of the trees are trimmed for spring, summer and autumn rearing, yet some of them still growing thickly, giving the landscape a neat ridge. With caution, I pull open the heavy wooden door in front of the white-walled storehouse near the annex. There, tens of thousands of cocoons rest inside hundreds of cocooning frames waiting to be harvested in the late fall. The silence of the rearing room broke as the afternoon sunlight began to tilt and a shrike chirped on the zelkova treetop. The landlord must have noticed my revisit; probably to offer on the altar, holding unseasonable dahlias in one hand and brushing off her headscarf with another, she stood there, her back facing the wooden door with a knowing look on her face.
Born in 1947.
His recent solo exhibitions include On the Road Again (PGI, 2017), RINGO (PGI, 2015), SABI (Photo Gallery International (P.G.I.), 2013), 1972〜 (gallery 916, Tokyo, 2013), YUBUNE (P.G.I., 2012). SAKURA (1839 Contemporary Gallery, Taipei, 2011), SEE SAW (P.G.I., 2010).
Recent group exhibitions include Longer Ways to Go (Phoenix Art Museum, 2017), In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3-11 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2015), The Spiritual World (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2014), Reinventing Tokyo: Japan’s Largest City in the Artistic Imagination (Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Boston, 2012), among others.
His works are in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo), George Eastman Museum (Rochester, USA), Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona (Tucson, USA), Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (USA), among others.
Exhibitions at PGI
|On the Road Again, 2017|
|SEE SAW, 2010|
|Somewhere, Sometime, 2007|
|Tokyo Drive, 2006|
|Tokyo Street: Neighborhood, 1999|
|In the Road, 1999|
|In the Road, 1997|
|CACTI Landscapes, 1996|
|Picture Show, 1987|
|See Saw, 1983|