In Japan, the passing of the year is marked by festivals and rituals that have gone largely unchanged for centuries. Elaborate outfits, made from textiles as well as branches, straw, and other materials plucked from the natural environment, are donned in rural, agricultural, and fishing communities throughout Japan to celebrate seasonal rites of fertility and abundance. Yokainoshima (literally “island of monsters”) explores the extraordinary crop of masks, costumes, and characters that reappear with the return of each season.
Charles Fréger’s photographs combine the attention to detail of a documentary photograph with individual portraiture in a fresh and distinctive style. Texts by specialists in Japanese folk culture and anthropology accompany the photographs, putting the huge variety of eclectic costumes in context with descriptions of the local festivals, dances, and rituals where they are worn.
This compelling sequence of new portraits by an internationally acclaimed photographer will captivate enthusiasts of fine art photography and far off places as it pulls back the curtain on a strange and magical centuries-old tradition.
Charles Fréger is a photographer based in Rouen, France. His previous books include Wilder Mann and Portraits in Lace: Breton Women. His work has been featured in many publications including National Geographic.