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Island of Monsters

Charles Fréger


Rising star Charles Fréger brings his inimitable eye to unfamiliar Japanese folk rituals

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In rural Japan the passage of the year is marked by festivals and rituals that have changed little for centuries. Elaborate outfits, crafted from textiles as well as branches, straw and elements sourced from the natural environment, are donned in agricultural and fishing communities throughout Japan to celebrate seasonal rites of fertility and abundance.

Yokainoshima (literally ‘island of monsters’) explores the extraordinary range of masks, costumes and characters that reappear with each returning season. Charles Fréger’s photographs combine acute documentary attentiveness with individual portraiture in an entirely fresh and distinctive style.

Toshiharu Ito and Akihiro Hatanaka, both specialists in Japanese folk culture and anthropology, analyse Fréger’s photographs, setting the huge variety of eclectic clothing in ethnographic context and describing the local festivals, dances and rituals. A final illustrated reference section describes individual costumes and masks.

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'A very special new title that will enthrall Fréger’s many fans, photography aficionados and anyone with a fascination for folk traditions and Japanese culture'
Photography News

'Fascinating … full of meticulously researched and beautifully executed photographs'
Royal Photographic Society

'Part artistic preoccupation, part creative ethnography, his series of carefully composed portraits channels the essence of what makes makes these spirits such an enduring and transcendental cultural phenomenon … A man of immense enthusiasm and commitment to his craft'
It’s Nice That

'The images in this book are utterly fascinating, as is the historical context laid out in the essays that bookend them. 'Yokainoshima' is a beautiful achievement, and one you can lose yourself in for hours'
Amateur Photographer

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback without Jacket

Size: 23.0 x 18.0 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Publication date: 27 June 2016

ISBN: 9780500544594

About the Author

Charles Fréger is a photographer based in Rouen, France. Internationally acclaimed for his subtle and poetic portraiture, he has devoted himself to the representation of social groups. Previous books include Wilder Mann, Portraits in Lace and Yokainoshima.

List of Contributors

Ryoko Sekiguchi, Toshiharu Ito, Akihiro Hatanaka

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