Photography is an expression of light. The light is complex and its reflection arouses various sensations. I sense a certain mysterious, unique quality in the light of Japan, and am fascinated by the enigmatic natural setting infused with such light.
Even after the indescribable disaster of 2011, people remain in this land. Why do we continue to live here at the mercy of such overwhelming power of nature? Perhaps it is because the risk of living here is compensated for by the extraordinary beauty of the landscape. The light that creates those landscapes—that is what I aspire to capture in my photographs.
Fireflies hover above the water-filled rice paddy,the reflection of their light seamlessly continues in the faraway starry sky.
by Utsubo KUBOTA (1877-1967)
Japanese have had a tradition of admiring the ephemeral light of the firefly in waka poetry from as early as the eighth century. The above poem by Kubota, a famous contemporary waka poet, conveys his thoughts about the short-lived fireflies that emit the faint flickers for only 20 days in their one-year lifespan, and for those people who are deceased and may live in heaven.
Geographically speaking, Japan is located between a continent and an ocean. It is a place where the enormous powers of nature—far beyond human wisdom—compete with one another, as well as a crossing where an arid atmosphere collides with a wet one.
The waves of energy that are generated by crustal moving plates heading to the continental wall rush toward the Japanese archipelago. That great energy can be discerned in the glow of volcanos. Sakurajima volcano is located in the southwest of Japan, just two and a half miles east of Kagoshima, a city of 600,000 people, and erupts as many as 1000 times per year. The sight of red-hot lava bursting out of the crater and the blue lightning generated by the static electricity of the volcanic smoke is so merciless as to arouse horror. Nevertheless, those lights have an otherworldly allure to them.
The beautiful climate of the archipelago was created by the abundant clean water made from vast amounts of vapor coming from the ocean. In that sense, Japan is a country of water. The rich water is an important element that contains and mirrors the sensuous light.
The energy of dynamic upheaval splits the atmosphere and the water intensifies the light. I want to seize that light.