Kamui Mintara : Playground of the gods

In the mountainous center of Hokkaidō sits, Daisetsuzan, the largest national park in Japan, 

It’s Japanese name literally means “great snowy mountains”

These images hope to push beyond the physical, to capture a place the Ainu call, “Kamui Mintara” – the playground of the gods.

This body of work was my first long term project and was exhibited at the Fuji Film Salon, Higashikawa Photo Museum, Sterling College as well as other venues.

Original Exhibition Text

After a year in Japan my life and worldview had become too material,

so i quit my job and i began my search for

something i had lost living in a postmodern country

 went to where people have gone searching since long before Lao-tzu, the


i summited jagged peaks rising straight out of the ocean, i hiked up the

rolling hills of misty islands mountains covered in summer wildflowers.

i climbed for days along the spine of the shiretoko peninsula, and i went

for some very long walks on the roof of Hokkaido

i walked until i heard these two words.

Kamui Mintara 

The Playground of the Gods in gods in Ainu

Kamui Mintara is hard to explain, harder to find and nearly impossible to

capture on film. 

Kamui Mintara isn’t on any maps, in fact it isn’t a physical place at all.

so i asked the Ainu where i could find Kamui Mintara.

None of the 30 somethings i was talking with in the Sapporo high rise “Ainu Culture Center” had ever been there. One told me, “that it might not exist anymore”

They had heard stories of Kamui Mintara from their parents and grandparents,

but did not seem to have much faith that the gods were still playful, if

alive at all. 

They shared that Kamui Mintara, by definition is very hard to get to.

i can share with you my photographs of Kamui Mintara, but what you

experience from them is up to you.

Some people will inevitably think of these photos in terms of where they are

on the map, what season they were taken in

But to enter Kamui Mintara you have to suspend all rational thought at the entrance 

perhaps Kamui Mintara’s true meaning was already buried in my


Perhaps Kamui Mintara is in all of our collective consciousness’?

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