Zaido , Yakari Chiruka , published by Steidl first edition 2017
I have always admired Japanese photographers and I own a couple of books already. I have discovered the name Yakari Chikura during listening to the podcast Biblioscapes. ( If you don’t listen and you like photo books, you should start to follow ).
Zaido, also known as Important Day Dance, is thought to have originated in the early 8th century when the Imperial Palace’s ensemble paid a visit to Hachimantai in Akita Prefecture. After the decline in state support of Shinto temple complexes, the cast-out court performers found a home in the small community, repaying their favour by teaching the locals their art. It is through this somewhat unlikely union that bugaku[a traditional Japanese dance] was preserved to this day.
This book is something special, I realised that from the first moment when I received the package. I pulled it out of the box cover and opened it. The book starts with see-through pages, which give an illusion of a misty landscape. Genius. I have never seen anything like this. The design of the book is inviting you to visit the small region of Japan and observe and almost be present during the ZAIDO.
There is no text and nothing is distracting you from admiring the pictures. I really like the flow of the pictures. I mentioned how I like the first pages of the book. The same applies to the final pages of ZAIDO by Yukari Chikura. The book is quietly fading out to black through the snowflakes. Beautiful.
I need to mention that there is a full booklet containing legend and map, which is a very nice addition. This way you can understand the tradition of the ZAIDO festival better.
Conclusion to this short review, I would recommend ZAIDO by Yukari Chikura to everyone. Not just photographers. If you are interested in Japan and its culture, this book is for you. Certainly, go ahead, buy the book you will not be disappointed. In short, this is my favourite book this year.
What’s your favourite book this year.
Previous Photographer’s library book review is here.