ashio copper mine



in the water” is a series that I worked on at night, trying to find a way to beautifully capture the red colour of the severe rash, that made me unable to use my prostheses for a while.

At the same time, I started shooting the “ashio copper mine” series, which I had been researching for some time. When I was a child, the landscape of my hometown was always filled with large factories, housing complexes, pylons, open plains and rivers. Most of them were built or maintained by human hands – thinking of it made little me hopeful that people could make anything and that anything was possible. I could believe that a hand-sewn “something (not yet a work of art then)” and a body reshaped by many surgeries were the same. However, my hometown has a history of pollution: the Ashio Copper Mine case was the first major pollution incident in Japan. How the mountains were reshaped as barren due to human influence such as soil pollution by toxic substances and forest fires, overlapped with my own body captured in “cannot turn the clock back – surface” series, which cannot live without artificial treatments. “ashio copper mine” has become my lifework and I continue to shoot the river and its surroundings that were once polluted.

Are the means we choose to live not natural, or are these natural things to do for us as human beings? The unstoppable flow of the river is like our life: it goes on and on, transcending time and boundaries, carrying love and even poison. There is also the hope that I felt as a child.

in the water》は、ひどい発疹によりしばらく義足が使用できなかった頃、どうやったらこの傷の赤い色を美しく撮れるだろうかと夜な夜な取り組んでいた作品です。

同時期に、かねてからリサーチしていた《ashio copper mine》の撮影を始めます。子供の頃、故郷の風景にはいつも、大きな工場や集合住宅、鉄塔、広い平野、そして川がありました。そのほとんどが人の手によって作られたり、整備されたりしたものだと思うと、「人はなんでも作れる!なんでもできる!」と、子供ながらに希望を感じたものです。手縫いの「(まだ作品にはならない)なにか」も、たくさんの手術で形を変えた身体も、それらと同じだと信じられました。しかしそんな故郷には、足尾銅山鉱毒事件という日本初の公害事件という歴史があります。有害物質による土壌汚染や山火事など、人為的な力によってかたちを変えてしまった禿山とその歴史に、人工的な施しがなければ生きていけない自分の身体《cannot turn the clock back – surface》が重なりました。《ashio copper mine》は、私のライフワークとなり、鉱毒が流れた川やその周辺を現在も撮影し続けています。