"Akina: An Ecocultural Portrait of an Island Community"
Of all my publications over the years, this was the one I enjoyed writing the most!
"Akina: An Ecocultural Portrait of an Island Community through the Photographic Lens of Futoshi Hamada"published by the Okinawa Journal of Island Studies and co-authored with Prof. Sueo Kuwahara. But most importantly, inspired by Amami Oshima my most favorite island in the Pacific, and an amazing local photographer, Futoshi Hamada, whose passion for his island, its culture and nature have been an inspiration to me. So honored to being given the privilege to share his work!
In this photo essay, we take you on a visual journey to Akina Village in Amami Ōshima, Japan, through the work of Futoshi Hamada, an award-winning island photographer and ecologist.
Based on the artist’s Mura (2001) photographic work that documented the natural cycle of the village’s rice cultivation and the harvest festivals associated with it, we aim to explore the concept of the island’s ecocultural identity as it manifests through the artist’s and the community’s unique connection with the island nature and culture.
As Akina is the last remaining village on the island where rice cultivation is still taking place, and linked to the harvest festivals, the visual documentation of these practices provides us a rare glimpse into what was once an integral part of Amami’s natural, socio-cultural, and spiritual/animistic islandscape before sugarcane was imposed on the islanders by mainland Japanese agricultural interventions and impositions.
Check it out here, Hamada's photos are wonderful: http://ir.lib.u-ryukyu.ac.jp/handle/20.500.12000/48047)