A photography book with work produced by Anne Claire de Breij, with portraits of neighbors, friends, stills lifes during her 3 months stay in former Senzu Elementary School, as part of The Future Residency in Kama City, Japan.
THE MUKADE AND THE MOUNTAIN
Type: Photography Book
Print: Die Keure (Be)
Design: Studio The Future
Cover Design: Studio&
Production: Tjobo Kho
Retouch: DOG Postproduction
Translations: SO COMMUNICATIONS (captions) & Shosuke Suzuki (essays)
Page Count: 176
Paper: Lessebo Smooth Natural
Print: Full Colour (Double)
Size: 246 x 346 x 29 mm
All books are numbered
The Future Publishing
Copyright 2022 Anne Claire de Breij
The Mukade and The Mountain is a book containing a collection of work I made while living and working in (former) Senzu Elementary School, as part of the Future Residency program in 2015. Living in the foothills of the mountains, in this expansive 4000 square meter compound, which functioned as the social and emotional heart of the region, I embedded and immersed myself in the local community, and the stories of the surrounding areas.
The result is a series of portraits and staged photographs, inspired by a mix of Japanese urban legends, traditional rituals and (local) folktales, with as background the area’s abundant nature, including the arresting Kosho, Hei and Umami mountains. “The Mountain” in the title is a direct reference to Kosho Mountain, “The Mukade”, a reference to the terrifyingly poisonous Japanese millipede that haunted us in the wet summer months. The very first entry in my diary, which I maintained meticulously during the entirety of my stay, was dedicated to this many-legged monster. The title of this book is equally a nod to the many Japanese ghost stories I read during the residency; as part of my research and inspiration.
The portraits, accompanied by short texts, give a peek into a world unknown to many; for example, the world of Senzu, where it felt like time had stood still. Here, we were told, we could see a traditional Japan, still in its purest form. Even friends from the city, whether casually passing by or part of the residency, called the surroundings “natsukashii” (nostalgic). They saw in the openhearted and warm way of life, the stories of their grandparents describing the Japanese countryside of their youth. Interspersed between the portraits are still lifes, inspired by Japanese ghost stories and urban legends, and notes from my diary; observations I recorded almost daily.
As a final note in the book, a meditative series of images unfolds, through which the ritual of dressing into a kimono is chronicled. Step by step, a woman dresses a younger woman in a furisode (literally “waving sleeves”) kimono. Following tradition, an older woman, in a rigid succession of movements, dresses a younger woman, who calmly surrenders herself to the methodical application of layer upon layer of textile. Their bodies melt into each other, seemingly caught in a dance. This effect is further accentuated by the repetition of the images. This series was shot in the Tokiwakan, one of the oldest and most authentic hotels in the area, with the help of Shogo Fabric and Madoka Ideguchi, a prominent and celebrated hair and make-up team specializing in exactly this.
The manners and rituals surrounding dressing in a kimono are slowly and silently fading into oblivion. In today’s Japan, it is no longer self-evident that one knows how to correctly wear a kimono, or is aware of the do’s and don’ts of this tradition. This series hopes to be, if anything, a personal reminder of how beautiful this tradition can be.
This book was made possible with generous support from the VandenEnde Foundation