Posts tagged ‘Kamaitachi’

February 19, 2012

Interview | Eikoh Hosoe

February 19, 2012

Kamaitachi | Eikoh Hosoe


All images © Eikoh Hosoe

Eikoh Hosoe‚Äôs long association with the revolutionary performance movement butoh came about¬†through his encounter in 1959 with one of its founders,¬†Tatsumi Hijikata. Hosoe collaborated with¬†Hijikata on several series including¬†Kamaitachi, which is acknowledged as the finest illustration of¬†Hosoe‚Äôs hybrid photographic style, combining performance and documentary with a dramatic, virile¬†aesthetic that embodies the founding principles of Hijikata‚Äôs ankoku butoh or ‚Äėdance of darkness‚Äô. ¬†The dramatic and intense energy that Hijikata generated with his dance not only captured Hosoe‚Äôs¬†imagination but also opened up new ways for the young photographer to approach themes such¬†as sexuality, gender and the human body.

Driven by the desire to re-enact his childhood memories when he was evacuated from Tokyo¬†during World War Two, Hosoe had Hijikata perform¬†kamaitachi, the legendary weasel-like demon¬†that haunted the rice paddies in the extremely sparse, rural landscape of the Tohoku region from¬†where they both came. Fusing reality (Hijikata interacting with the landscape and village people)¬†and performance, Hosoe‚Äôs ‚Äėsubjective documentary‚Äô series opened new ground in Japanese¬†post-war photography.