Thursday, 13 July 2017

Byakkotai















The Byakkotai was part of Aizu's four-unit military, set up in the domain's drive to finalize its military modernization, in the wake of the Battle of Toba-Fushimi. The other three units were Genbutai, Seiryūtai, and Suzakutai. Each of the four was named after the protecting gods of compass directions
Byakkotai was meant to be a reserve unit, as it was composed of the young, 16- to 17-year-old sons of Aizu samurai. It was subdivided further, along the lines of rank within the domain's samurai population: two squads were from the upper (shichū) rank, two from the middle rank (yoriai), and two from the lowest (ashigaru). Twenty of the members of the 2nd shichū squad, cut off from the rest of their unit in the wake of the Battle of Tonoguchihara, retreated to Iimori Hill, which overlooked the castle town. From there, they saw what they thought was the castle on fire, and committed seppuku (with one failed attempt) in desperation, believing their lord and families dead. However these 20 Byakkotai members were mistaken in their assessment of defeat, as the castle defenses had not actually been breached; the castle town surrounding the inner citadel was aflame. As the majority of the town was between Iimori Hill and the castle, the boys saw the rising smoke and assumed that the castle itself had fallen. (Wilkipedia)

Today the cult of this young samurai is still alive, and many people, old and young, come here to pay their tribute to the memory and burn incense. I visited the site and took the photos in Summer 2011.

Monday, 10 July 2017

My new exhibition in Osaka

This year I will hold an exhibition in Osaka at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, from the 22nd of July to the 5th of August.
I will show The Creative Gesture series, about 30 images of fine art black and white prints, of Japanese artists and their gesture, the focus is on the hands, very shallow focus, achieved using a long lens, usually a 85mm. fully opened at  f 1,4, or the 105mm. f 2,8, to have a strong bokeh effect.
All images are shoot in Japan.
You are all invited to visit my exhibition and, please, let your friends know about it!