In rural Japan the passage of the year is marked by several festivals. Elaborate outfits, crafted from textiles and materials from the natural environment, are worn by people in agricultural and fishing communities to celebrate seasonal rites of fertility and abundance. There are also rituals for longevity, prosperity and warding off misfortune, where spirit ‘visitors’ believed to come from the sea, the mountains and the sky are welcomed into communities across the Japanese archipelago.
Yokainoshima (literally 'island of monsters') explores the extraordinary ranges of masks, costumes and characters that reappear with each returning season. Charles Fréger's captivating collection is the product of extensive research; working with a Japanese assistant, the photographer spent two years journeying across the country. Fréger's portraits are framed with essays written by Toshiharu Ito and Akihiro Hatanaka, specialists in Japanese folk culture and anthropology, which set the huge variety of eclectic clothing in ethnographic context.
Yokainoshima is published by Thames & Hudson.