Shisei Kuwabara won this year’s Domon Ken Award (a photography award sponsored by the Mainichi Shimbun) for his book The Minamata Disaster and his half-century of work on Minamata disease.

THIS BOOK WILL PERHAPS BE MY LAST WORK DURING LIFE AS AN IMPOVERISHED photographer who began with Minamata disease and returned to it in the end … I attempt- ed to select photographs from among approximately 30,000 frames. I hope to imagine the surprise of the readers when they are told that an image of a now-deceased patient, who finally won her lawsuit, is among the photographs I took 53 years ago while she was alive. I hope to describe and investigate more than half-century of Minamata disease’s passage up to the present… The only thing I can do is to leave behind these photographs.

Shisei Kuwabara graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography in 1960. His complete works have been published in four volumes and a photographic museum opened in his name in his hometown of Tsuwano in 1997.