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w18.8 x h30 cm
32 Pages
20 Images(color)
Full color Offset
First edition
Published in 2018
ISBN 978-4-908512-36-0


NIPPON Hokkaido

Naoki Ishikawa (Tokyo, Japan)

I was 18 years old when I visited Hokkaido for the first time. I saw Lake Shikaribetsu on a high-school excursion and rowed a canoe then. Since I had only been to dams and ponds in the Kanto region, I was amazed by how transparent the water of the lake was, and I knew that I wanted to come back to this place again. For the past two decades since then, I have returned from time to time. Starting with Hokkaido, I came to make many new trips to Aomori, Sakhalin, Alaska, and to the Arctic. For me, Hokkaido is not the end of the north but in fact the entrance to the northern world.
 Traveling on foot across the vast land of Hokkaido, I have photographed whatever I encountered there, from people to landscapes, in order not to forget any of them. Although I know my journey cannot match that of Takeshiro Matsuura, the godfather of "Hokkaido," someday I hope to create my own map of the light of the north I have traveled around. Without assuming an established map dividing territories by borders to be clear-cut, I would like to write a new one through my own physical perception.
 I have special memories of many places across Hokkaido: Sapporo, Hakodate, Niseko, Tokachi and Obihiro; Bibai, Tomakomai, Mt.Usu and Mt.Showa-shinzan; Yoichi, Asahikawa, Higashikawa,and Kenbuchi; Wakkanai, Kushiro, Nemuro, and Nakashibetsu, the islands of Teuri and Yakishiri, and Rebun and Rishiri. Among them, the areas I have visited most often are Shiraoi and Noboribetsu, and Shiretoko Peninsula, which includes Shari and Utoro.
 There is a place called "Ayoro" near the border between Shiraoi and Noboribetsu. The name and location of "Ayoro" is only known to the local people and not listed as an official address. It is a mysterious place as only the name remains.  Halfway between Tomakomai and Muroran on the Pacific coastline, there is a point that curves quite gently into an arched shape, the plateau of Ayoro slightly protruding out to the sea. I have been conducting fieldwork in this area with two friends who work as "Ayoro Laboratory." I took the photograph on the cover of this book at dawn on a hill called "Kamuimintaru," which means "a hill on which gods dance" in Ainu language. It is a quiet beach that you may pass by unless you know of it, but it is deeply intriguing once you are familiar with the location. Ayoro is such an interesting place.
 As I have built several relationships there, I often visit Shari, the entrance to Shiretoko Peninsula, almost every month. Three years has passed since I launched the project, "Shashin Zero Banchi" (literally Zero Photography). In fact, I am writing this text on the way to Point Shiretoko, the end of the peninsula. Shiretoko is such a special place for me, more than anywhere else.
 I have so much emotional attachment to Hokkaido that I cannot seem to leave out any of my time there Hokkaido occupies a dear place in my heart, as a vast land that I will for sure keep as a part of me now and forever more.
Naoki Ishikawa