REMINDERS PHOTOBOOK REVIEW #22 SCRAP BOOK (ENGLISH)
On reconstruction of memories: “Scrap book” by Hajime Kimura
“Scrap book” by Hajime Kimura is constructed with numerous clippings of his black and white photos shot in a mountain village of “Matagi”, the traditional bear hunters in northern Japan, accompanied with his drawings. This book, first invites the viewers to encounter the secret heart of Japan, yet, it is actually the traces of Kimura’s process of retrospection.
This book seems to be already successful as a documentary on the life in the bear-hunting village, which hardly shows the signs of modernization. As a person coming from a small village in northern Japan, I was immediately drawn to the familiar scenes of forgotten village life: Masatoshi Naito-like hags, firm animals, night tree, snow covered rice fields and dark houses. The images guide us to Kimura’s journey into the centuries old tradition of bear hunting through his perspective as a young stranger to the closed community.
As flipping through the pages of Kimura’s “Scrap book,” one might notice that this is not just a documentary on the bear hunting tradition, but it is his attempt at reconstructing his memories there. I should have known this from the moment I read the title and saw its travel notebook format. The images are clipped with free hand and arranged freely on the pages. All photographs are reproduced with Xerox and distressed/rubbed to achieve the particular roughness. He has also inserted a page from his journal and his drawings of bear, beer bottle, rubber boots, a young fern etc. Kimura’s labor-intensive work enables us to have rather a tactile experience of reliving his recollections, reconstructed afterwards.
“Scrap book” is a beautifully produced hardcover, however, as reading into it, one can imagine how Kimura has created the raw dummy. He probably went through the archives of the photos and drawings, instinctively made a selection and edited them, as if he was picking up fragments of memories and rearrange them to create a new layer of the recollection.
Miyuki Okuyama, Sep. 2015
**We have this series of book review by photographers normally in Japanese only, but Miyuki did a bilingual for her review. So the number you see is #22 but we only have this one translated so far.