According to Japanese legend, the Kamaitachi is a demon that haunts rice paddies and villages in the north of the country. Literally a ‘sickle-weasel’, the kamaitachi bursts forth from vacuums in the air, slashing villagers in the ensuing whirlwhind. Photographer Eikoh Hosoe, who as a boy was evacuated to a northern village during the war, returned to the land of the kamaitachi in late 1967. With him was Tatsumi Hijikata, the founder of Butoh, an avant-garde dance movement. Born in politically charged post-war Japan, Butoh was a rejection of the influx of foreign culture that many considered was displacing traditional culture. This collaboration led to one of the most intricate and ceremonial photobooks in the history of photography. As Hijikata became the kamaitachi, Hosoe became the camera brandishing villager who revisits his youth, memories of the war, and hopes for the future of art.
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