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Zaido

Yukari Chikura

Curator:Gwen Lee

Photographer:Yukari Chikura



This book is Yukari Chikura’s preservation of the 1300-year-old Japanese ritual festivity “Zaido.” Following a series of tragedies including her father’s sudden death, her own critical accident and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Chikura recalls how her father came to her in a dream with the words: “Go to the village hidden deep in the snow where I lived a long time ago.” And so with camera in hand she set off on a restorative pilgrimage to northeast Japan (the first of numerous journeys), which resulted in this book. Chikura arrived at the village, surreally silver in the snow and mist, and there discovered Zaido, where inhabitants from different villages gather on the second day of each new year and conduct a ritual dance to induce good fortune. The performers dedicate their sacred dance to the gods and undergo severe purifications. Combining photos of snowscapes that border on abstraction with images of the intricate masks and costumes of Zaido, Chikura depicts the cultural diversity of the particpants as well as their common bond in creating collective memory and ensuring the survival of this ritual.

The sight of these people—who overcome all obstacles, who stand up over and over again after every fall, all for the sake of protecting something so precious and vital— has given me the courage and hope to live again. Yukari Chikura


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