Hajime Kimura


It is a great pleasure for us to feature an interview with Hajime Kimura and his new book “Kodama”.

Kodama is a spirit from Japanese folklore, which is believed to live in certain trees. Cutting down trees which houses Kodama is thought to bring misfortune. Kodama also serve as a title of the photography book by Hajime Kimura. This 56-page memory is richly overflowing with the recollections of Hajime’s 5-year spent living, between 2007 and 2011, with the MATAGI tribe.

-What is the function of the Artist Studio for you?

Studio is a place where I can get lost in my thoughts and shape those thoughts into some kind of form.

-Why do you make books?

I believe that books let me form my ideas in a much more sensuous and tridimensional ways, also they are easy to present and pass around.

-Tell us about your latest publication “Kodama”

This book is about my admiration towards the countryside. I grew up in Tokyo suburbia, it was right after my third year of college when I first heard of “Matagi” a mountain village in the north of Japan. I keep going back to photograph in this mountain village for about 5 years.

For this book I extracted the documentary aspect of the story and edited with fewer pictures. My intention was to show my lack of knowledge of the place and its culture, how I stepped into a different world from the one I was use to in Tokyo. I wanted to give the viewers the same disoriented and spiritual feelings I had when I first encountered the village and its people . Years after finishing the project  I am still struggling to fully understand the world of ”Matagi”.

So if anybody who sees my book begins to wonder what “Matagi” is, and wishes to know more about this mountain village, the book would have succeeded. The book also shows my point of view as an outsider

– What do you care the most when you make books?

It’s been a year that I have been developing some thoughts on bookmaking, I believe how you form your idea is very significant. Unlike framed pictures, with books you can play with many elements and choices. From types of bookbinding, the thickness, textures, colors of the paper, numbers of pages, the choice between hard cover or soft cover, etc. There are numerous decisions to make. It is important to understand the material you have to work with and the type of book you want to make, if you take these choices for granted you could end up with a mediocre book.

– Any photobook out there that you wish you were the author of it? And why?

One of the most influential photobook for me since I started photography is “Peter Beard (Special Edition)” by Peter Beard, an autobiographical photobook. Not only the contents but also I like the bookbinding: very simple red and blue cloths-binding. It’s hard to describe in one word, but I would sure be excited if I were Peter.

☆ Signed copy of “Kodama” is now available at bdp bookstore → http://store.bookdummypress.com/product/kodama-by-hajime-kimura-signed

☆ Check out more of his work → http://hajimekimura.net/


Hajime Kimura is a Japanese photographer born in 1982. He was raised in Chiba prefecture. Having studied architecture and anthropology at University, he began his photography career in 2006. In 2012, he participated in World press photo Joop swart masterclass. He is a recipient of Vattenfall Photo Award 2nd Prize, Tokyo Documentary Photography Workshop Scholarship, Kuala Lumpur International Photo Award and more. He is currently based in Japan, also covers stories in China and India.





HK: 自分が物思いに耽られる場所、またはそこから湧いてくる考えを何らかの形に出来る場所です。


HK: 自分が思っている事をより感覚的、具体的な形に出来ると感じているのと、それを形にしたあとで、人に渡せたり簡単に見せたりする事が出来るからです。


HK: 一言でいうと、自分の田舎への憧れが形になった写真集です。東京の郊外で育った僕は大学在学中に彼らの存在を知りました。結局足掛け5年間ある山村に通い 続ける事になるのですが、本の内容は極力ジャーナリスティックな部分を抜いて少ない写真で作りました。何も知らない自分が東京とは真逆の世界へと足を踏み 入れ、そしていつの間にか元の世界に戻って行く。すなわちそれは彼らのことを結局は理解できなかったという、もう一つの思いも含めています。



HK: 本づくりに関して色々と思いが膨らんでいったのはここ1年ほどですが、その中で重要だなと感じたことは、自分の思いをいかに形にするのかという事なのだと 思いました。1枚の額装された写真と違って本は、たくさんの要素が組み込まれた仕掛けと言えると思います。その中で装丁、紙の厚さや質感、色、ページ数、 ハードカバーにする意味など、取り上げたらキリがありませんが、ひとつひとつの部品が自分の思いを込められる要素ですし、逆にそれがおろそかになるとつま らない物になってしまう恐れもあるのではと思います。


HK: 写真をやり始める前、またその後も大きな影響を受けた写真集にピーター・ビアードの“Peter Beard Special Edition)”という自伝的な写真集があります。彼の写真の内容もさることながら、赤と青のシンプルな布張りの装丁も好きです。一言でいうのは難しい ですが、自分がピーターだったら興奮します。(笑)

☆ サイン入り「谺」はbdp ブックストアでお買い求め頂けます → http://store.bookdummypress.com/product/kodama-by-hajime-kimura-signed

☆ 木村さんのウェブサイトはコチラ→ http://hajimekimura.net/


2006 年より本格的に写真家活動を開始。現在日本を始め中国、インドを中心に撮影を行っている。2012年に世界報道写真財団-Joop Swart Masterclassに日本人としては二人目の選出。Vattenfall photo award(ドイツ)2位、東京ドキュメンタリーフォトワークショップ・スカラーシップ (2011)、上野彦馬日本写真芸術学会奨励賞 (2011)、Kuala Lumpur International Photo Award (2011) などを受賞。また、Bursa 国際フォトフェスティバル(トルコ)、アンコールフォトフェスティバル(カンボジア)等でも作品がスライド上映されている。2012年には写真集「谺」 (窓社)を上梓。2013年3月にはイギリスで開催されるFormat international photofestivalに参加。



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