The Wealth, Watched over by FOX (2015)
English / 日本語
In Japan, people believe in gods inhabiting all creations and therefore also believe there are many gods in Japan. We have a habit to pray in various ways. As my parents ran a business, Fushimi-inari-Taisha, which is a famous shrine in Kyoto and is dedicated to business prosperity, has been familiar shrine to me since I was a child. Inari is the name of a guardian deity of business and merchants.
The reason why I am strongly interested in the god of prosperity and Inari is because foxes are enshrined as the god's messengers. There is always a pair of foxes enshrined at the gate of the shrine. In their mouths, one holds the sacred gem and the other holds the key to the warehouse in which keeps treasures. They are staring at us with stern faces, threatening intruders.
Since ancient times, many people have visited this shrine to pray for wealth.
Some would pray for being rich, and others who are already rich would pray to be richer. People's obsession with wealth is unlimited.
However, people would lose their possessions someday. Demonstrated by history, we know that wealth doesn't last forever. When people lose their possessions, they might be frustrated and wish that wealth would be back. That's why they go to the inari shrine to pray for more acquired wealth. As the god's messengers, foxes must have watched for human's desire and obsessions with wealth. Foxes' faces seem as if they reflect human's greediness like a mirror.
To represent this Japanese peculiar god and world of foxes, I made my photographs look like Ukiyo-e. Ukiyo-e is a Japanese painting or woodblock print, which flourished in 18-19th century and was very popular among people. Ukiyo-e is a painting that depicts the customs of this period. Expressing my photos in the Ukiyo-e style, I finished them in flat color tone and clear lines. Through my works, I want to express world of foxes in the shrine with human desire.
print media: handmade Japanese paper (IseWashi 'IseHishi Husyo')
(1) Large size (A2) <edition number: 20>
- media size: 630 x 420 mm (24.8 x 16.5 inch)
- image size: 547 x 274 mm (21.5 x 10.8 inch)
(2) Small size (A3+) <edition number: 20>
- media size: 483 x 328 mm (19.0 x 12.9 inch)
- image size: 400 x 200 mm (15.7 x 7.9 inch)