Size: 11 3/4 in. x 7 3/4 in. (298 mm x 200 mm)
Item#: SD-003 Artist: Hiroshi Hamaya
Image or title: Buddhist healing prayer at Imagami Onsen, Tozawa, Yamagata Prefecture.
Date: 1964 Medium: vintage gelatin silver print, archivally matted. Price: please inquire

Description: vintage gelatin silver print by one of Japan's twentieth century photo masters, Hiroshi Hamaya. This view shows a Buddhist prayer ceremony at Imagami Onsen located in Tozawa, Yamagata Prefecture. At this onsen, or hotsprings, before bathing all visitors must first offer prayers to three gods including Buddha and The Goddess of Mercy and chant the ritual Buddhist chant ‘Na-mu-a-mi-da-butsu’. It is thought that as a goodwill gesture in return, the sacred onsen offers healing powers for such ailments as stomach disease, diabetes and even cancer.

Condition: Very good, wetstamp on the reverse (see below). Print enclosed in archival mat board.


Hiroshi Hamaya 1915 - 1999:

Born in Tokyo, Hamaya taught himself photography at age 15. In 1933 he joined Oriental Photographic Industries primarily photographing trains and taking aerial views. From 1937 to 1945 he was a freelancer based in Tokyo and it was during this period in 1939 when Hamaya met ethnologist Keizo Shibusawa who strongly influenced him. This led to Hamaya’s interest in traditional rituals, agricultural life and daily life in Japan. In 1940 he began work on his Yukiguni (Snow Land) series in Niigata prefecture and from 1945 to 1952 he based himself out of Takada, Niigata Prefecture. In 1954 he began work on his Ura Nihon (Japan’s Back Coast) series. In 1955 Hamaya caught the attention of Edward Steichen who included him in the Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1960 Hamaya became the first Asian photographer to join the photo cooperative Magnum. It was during the early 1960s when he covered the demonstrations and riots against the US-Japan Security Treaty which caused him to take on an an anti government view. This outlook caused Hamaya to return to aerial photography, landscapes and nature photography in both Japan and abroad. In 1986 Hamaya was honored with a Master of Photography Award from the International Center of Photography in New York. During his long career Hamaya published numerous books and held several major exhibitions, capping his life work with a sixty year retrospective of his work at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in 1997. That same year Hamaya was also awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 1997.

Wetstamp on reverse