This book is Yukari Chikura’s record of the 1,300-year-old Japanese ritual festivity known as Zaido.
Following a series of tragedies, including her father’s sudden death, her own critical accident and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Chikura recalls how her father came to her in a dream with the words: “Go to the village hidden deep in the snow where I lived a long time ago.” With camera in hand she set off on a pilgrimage to northeast Japan.
There, Chikura discovered Zaido, where inhabitants from different villages gather on the second day of each new year and conduct a ritual dance to induce good fortune. The performers dedicate their dance to the gods and undergo severe purifications.
Combining snowscapes that border on abstraction with images of the intricate masks and costumes of Zaido, Chikura depicts the cultural diversity of the participants and their common bond in creating collective memory and ensuring the survival of this ritual.