Eikoh Hosoe: Kamaitachi
Published by Aperture.
Text by Donald Keene, Shuzo Takiguchi.
An undisputed masterwork among Japanese photobooks, Eikoh Hosoe and Tatsumi Hijikata's Kamaitachi was originally released in 1969 as a limited edition of 1,000 copies. Hosoe, the renowned photographer, and Hijikata, the founder of ankoku butoh dance, had visited a farming village in northern Japan, where Hijikata improvised a performance inspired by the legend of a weasel-like demon named Kamaitachi. As Hosoe photographed Hijikata's spontaneous interactions with the landscape and with the people they encountered, the two artists together enacted an intense investigation of tradition and an exploration, both personal and symbolic, of contemporary convulsions in Japanese society. In 2005, Aperture published a limited-edition facsimile in homage to the original, in close consultation with the artist; now, they have made this enchanting body of work available in its first ever affordable trade edition, which was painstakingly reworked by renowned graphic artist Ikko Tanaka--the designer of the original volume--shortly before his death. His reinterpretation of this classic book object, which is truly a paragon of Japanese bookmaking, includes as a special bonus four never-before-published images from the classic Kamaitachi series.
Eikoh Hosoe was born in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, in 1933. He is an integral part of the history of modern Japanese photography, and 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 outside world. Hosoe lives in Tokyo and is represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.