Yokainoshima: Island of Monsters by Charles Freger
In rural Japan the passage of the year is marked by festivals and rituals that have changed little for centuries. Elaborate outfits, crafted from textiles as well as branches, straw and elements sourced from the natural environment, are donned in agricultural and fishing communities throughout Japan to celebrate seasonal rites of fertility and abundance. Yokainoshima (literally 'island of monsters') explores the extraordinary ranges of masks, costumes and characters that reappear with each returning season. Charles Freger's photographs combine acute documentary attentiveness with individual portraiture in an entirely fresh and distinctive style. Toshiharu Ito and Akihiro Hatanaka, both specialists in Japanese folk culture and anthropology, analyse Freger's photographs, setting the huge variety of eclectic clothing in ethnographic context and describing the local festivals, dances and rituals. A final illustrated reference section describes individual costumes and masks.