Eikoh Hosoe: Kamaitachi

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Black & White, Classic, Photobook

Eikoh Hosoe’s groundbreaking Kamaitachi was originally released in 1969 as a limited-edition photobook of 1,000 copies.


“In the ”Kamaitachi” series (1965-68), Mr. Hosoe and the dancer Tatsumi Hijikata, a founder of the radical form of dance called Butoh who died in 1986, went in search of their past in the Japanese countryside. For more than a year before Japan’s surrender, Mr. Hosoe had sought refuge with relatives in the far north of Honshu. Hijikata also came from that region, and it was there that the two went.

Casting a manic shadow on a serenely timeless landscape, the dancer appears to personify the demon Kamaitachi, which means ”sickle-toothed weasel” in Japanese. In country lore this demon haunts the rice fields, terrorizing its victims. In one image Hijikata is perched atop a tall fence, lowering clouds overhead, as if looking for potential targets.

In other pictures Hijikata is seen dragging a terrified woman into a shack, having a sexual encounter with her and embracing an ecstatic young woman in an open field. Hijikata flies through the air, to the amazement of a group of children. He sits glowering among a group of laughing farmers.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/06/arts/photography-review-stories-for-the-camera-some-dark-some-not.html)

Please note: All images and texts are protected by Copyright and belong to the Artist.


  • Aperture
  • First edition in Fall 2009
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • 48 tritone images
  • 12.9 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Essays by Shuzo Takiguchi and Donald Greene, as well as an afterword by Hosoe himself, add depth and context to the work!

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