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.
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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