Dimensions: 303 × 225 mm
Hawaii and Fukushima: two lands sharing one soulful dance.
Every summer at different times from June to August, some ninety Buddhist temples throughout Hawaii host the bon dance, a festival for honoring one's ancestors that was begun by Japanese settlers carrying on the customs of their homeland. From the red glowing chochin lanterns to the exuberant array of yukata kimono and happi jackets worn by festivalgoers thronging a central bandstand tower, the spirit of Japan comes alive on Hawaiian soil on these nights. Moving in pure, reverent homage toward their forebears who persevered through backbreaking plantation labor and the hardships of World War II, the dancers pour out their souls in steps that have been lovingly passed down through the generations.
For some dozen years photographer Ai Iwane has been fascinated by Hawaiian bon dance, and especially by the song in it called "Fukushima Ondo," which is based on the "Soma Bon Uta" from the area of Fukushima that was ravaged by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.
Kipuka is her debut collection and the culmination of that longtime fascination: photographs of the bon festivals of both lands taken from 2006 in Hawaii and from 2011 in Fukushima. As captured through Iwane's limpid gaze, the visions of these dancers moving their bodies in the shadow of the overpowering majesty of nature testify to the vibrant links between past and present and remind us of the dignity, strength, and essence of human life.
With an essay by Chihiro Minato in Japanese and English
signed copy available
stock number: NB327