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Number 1 Shimbun

Exhibition: Ise Jingu and the Origins of Japan



Photographs by Miori Inata



IN 1991, I MOVED from my home in Japan to New York City, where I spent the next 10 years. My world changed, however, as I watched the terrorist attack of 9/11 from my apartment window. I began a pilgrimage in search of answers—to holy sites around America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Then I was introduced to Ise Jingu. The moment I set foot on its grounds I could tell that it was a special place. It speaks to me deeply with its energy. It is very much alive, and it changes with the seasons. I returned numerous times after my first visit, losing myself in my photography.

Over 10 years I shot many rituals of the Shikinen Sengu, the unique renewal process of Ise Jingu. This “cycle” is one based on passing everything to the next generation. It is a symbol of a cycle comparable to life itself. Ise Jingu is the ultimate expression of humans not only living in harmony with nature, but living “as” nature.

I feel its philosophy could serve as a beacon of light for humanity, becoming not only a treasure for Japan, but for the entire world.

Miori Inata graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo, having majored in oil painting. She taught fine arts before relocating to New York. Since returning to Japan she has photographed Ise Jingu for more than a decade. Her photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Yomiuri Shimbun, Vogue Japan and Aera. She has held exhibitions at United Nations, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Harvard University, Tokyo National Museum, the Israel Museum and many other locations.


Published in: May 2016

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