- This was the title of the speech that the novelist Yasunari Kawabata delivered in his acceptance address of his Nobel Prize in literature back in 1968. The beauty of Japan has its manifold aspects. While Kawabata focused on the aesthetic beauty of Japanese art and culture, what I intended to depict in photography is the raw beauty that we come across while traveling around the country. The deep blue sky falling to the level of almost the equally blue sea water in the far horizon that you might come across while travelling around Okinawa or one of the remote Tokyo islands is in sharp contrast with the desert that suddenly opens up in front of your eyes as you pass through the highway crossing Tottori Prefecture. The same contrast and equally beautiful scene might catch your attention as you travel through other parts of the country. While the raw beauty of a hanging rope-bridge connecting two high mountains above a swift narrow stream far below, in remote Shikoku island, makes you wonder about the combination of necessity and artistic reflection, the light blue sky and the remotely viewed Mount Hakusan, beyond a fast flowing river where cranes wait eagerly for the appearance of exhausted salmons after their long swim, might compel you to give a deeper thought about the beauty of nature and its it’s hidden cruel aspects.
The beauty of Japan is not merely what that we encounter in nature. How that beauty is preserved and enhanced is also worth looking at, in the context of modern Japan. In short, the beauty of Japan created through human efforts is also something that too deserves equal attention. In all of the 19 photos in this group I’ve tried to catch those two completely different but complimentary aspects of Japanese beauty – natural and man-made.