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Osorezan is a place in the Northern-most part of Honshu, Japan’s main island. The name literally translates to “The Mountain of Fear”, and surrounding it, there are areas actually called “Hell” and “Lake of Blood”. It is a place rich in mythology and folklore meaning, and said to be the gate to the underworld. Puddles of strangely coloured liquids bubble with toxic gases, shallow streams of yellow water line the grey footpaths, and all throughout the year, the sting of sulphur acid and an eery silence lie over the place. Everyone who does must cross the local Sanzu river, and children who die before their parents are condemned to build cairns here for eternity.
But you wouldn’t know this from the photos in Issei Suda’s book “The Journey to Osorezan”, because his photography is not concerned primarily with Nature but with people and the traces they leave in the world - both in the physical and the psychological sense. In the afterword to the book, Suda explains the circumstances in which the photos were taken in the early 1970s. Originally lead towards Osorezan out of naive, youthful curiosity, the place has during his many visits gained a deeper - maybe spiritual - meaning for him.
The Journey to Osorezan／恐山へ｜Issei Suda／須田一政｜ISBN 978-4-905453-32-1｜227 x 257 mm｜71 pages, 65 photo reproductions｜Soft cover in a transparent slip case｜Text in Japanese and English｜Published by Zen Foto Gallery｜2013