Gaijin resident in a small town in Iwate prefecture, Mark James Adams sent me a link to his new blog A Study of Nothingness. I want to particularly commend him on his photographic study of Christian signage in Japan and hope he continues the series.
These Christ signs are ubiquitous in Ohasama and environs and yet strangely invisible. This is the start of a project to document them. Harisutosu is one of many words in Japanese for Christ. This portfolio is an artistic response to and conversation with Orthodox Christianity.
Christianity first came to Japan through Spanish missionaries, but it was eventually banned by the Bakufu government. In the late 16th century, twenty-six Christians became martyrs in Nagasaki. A monument to these twenty-six was made by 20th-century sculptor Funakoshi Yasutake, and is an important artistic response to the history of Christianity in Japan. Ive seen a resin cast of four of these figures, the expression of each unique and stunning.
During the edict banning Christianity, the practice was carried on by so-called hidden Christians, who are today perhaps still hidden, comprising one percent of the population.
I can't tell if he's using old film stock and/or doesn't know to color balance or if it's entirely deliberate, but I also like the desaturated tone of his color photography. Mark wrote back saying that the color balance was deliberately manipulated.