The island where Motonari Tagawa grew up until 15 years old, Matsushima, is just off the coast of the Nishisonogi Peninsula in Nagasaki Prefecture. The region has gnarled ria coastlines, and more islands than anywhere else in Japan. Just over 70 of the islands are inhabited, but if you include the uninhabited ones there are some 600 islands dotting that sea.
Tagawa have been traveling these islands for four years. From island to island, he have traveled, catching boats and walking. he developed a sense of geography he had never known before. It stems from an awareness of people�s sea-borne movement.
If we are try turning the map of the Japanese archipelago and East Asia upside down, centered on Kyushu. With that simple act, the proximity of northwestern Kyushu to the Korean Peninsula and the Chinese continent becomes obvious. The distance as the crow flies from Nagasaki to not only Busan but also Seoul on the Korean peninsula and even Pyongyang in North Korea is less than the distance to Tokyo. The ports of Shanghai and Ningbo in China are also closer than Tokyo.
Having a maritime perspective immediately makes it possible to understand the reason why envoys bound for China stopped in at the Goto Islands, and why the Portuguese ships traveling to Southeast Asia first visited too.
When the ocean was the stage, these islands�which nowadays have been pushed to the periphery of Japan�s nation state and are thought of as remote�were literally at the frontline of the archipelago. In the process of developing the modern nation we got it fixed in our minds that Tokyo was the center.
Through coincidences of geography, the islands of Nagasaki have been home to people for whom the beliefs Buddhism, Christianity, Kakure Kirishitan, and Shinto have been mixed like a mosaic, and a culture has developed with roots in China, Korea, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Buddhism came from China, but there are also Shinto shrines dotted here and there. During the Age of Discovery, the Portuguese and Spanish brought Christianity. And then came the Hidden Christians, who weathered oppression generation after generation. The people, regardless of their beliefs, all practiced fishing in this same sea and cultivated those same steep terrain.
Even now these same faiths are still blended here, still co-exist around this ocean. It is a landscape that was created by history, and yet at the same time, it was a history created by the landscape that preceded it.
Maritime perspective, land perspective, and to honor ones ancestors.
_Across The Sea_ references the road movie-like works of Robert Frank, Alec Soto, and others, it is not only a documentary photo, but also has the strange charm of emerging beyond that particular time and space.
Those 81 landscapes and portraits captured on medium format film, has been compiled into this book, while combining the perspective of "traveling home island" and "moving with a deep gaze at images lurking in the sea.

Across the Sea / Motonari Tagawa

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