Western media coverage of Japan often varies from adulation of its enigmatic mysteries and ceremonies to anime and cosplay fun. Japanese institutions also perpetrate stereotypical notions and preconceptions that mask the reality of the people and places of the country.
Not a travel book or simply an array of pretty images, JAPAN delivers a visual narrative that tells the story of what people do, how they come to do it, and how social cues via certain rituals have shaped them. Key to the narrative is the fear and control of nature including the molding of character, the positive and negative impacts of ritual, and how wearing a costume or uniform is to assume a particular identity. The images form a cohesive vision of Japan that brings to light aspects rarely seen, if ever, in a unique exposure.
Thematic flow is arranged in six chapters with essays, as follows: An Insider’s Gaze, by Peter Tasker; Metropolis, by Stephen Mansfield; Costume, by Charles T. Whipple; Nature, by Holly Thompson; Ritual, and Sacred, both by Eugene Tarshis; and Aesthetics, by Azby Brown. As Peter Tasker describes in his chapter, photographer Hans Sautter “has spent the best part of five decades in Japan. He is an insider looking around him, not an outsider looking in.”
Subjects and locations were chosen deliberately, most conceived before shooting with a detailed concept in mind. Among these concepts are the formation of identity, rituals that liberate and subjugate participants to particular modes of perception and behavior, and how the sacred offers release from behavior modification and constricts daily life. The motive is to illustrate the dichotomy of the forces that drive Japan.
Hans Sautter is a graduate of the Photo Academy in Munich. His work has appeared in publications by National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institute and WWF, and in magazines like Time, GEO, and Nature. Japan was never his destination but a stopover on the way to Australia in 1972. The layover continues until today.
Doors open at 6:00 pm. Dinner is served from 6:15 pm. The presentation starts from 7:15 pm.
Menu: Chef’s Salad/ Bread/ Chicken and Pasta, Gratin Style/ Ice Cream/ Coffee or Tea with One Drink. Book Break charges are 3,000 yen/ 4,000 yen (members/ non-members) per person.
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(The talk will be in English)
Library, Archives & Workroom Committee