Female Shamanism by Masatoshi Naito

April 03, 2014

Female Shamanism used to be a large phenomenon within Japan; today it is limited to the region of Tohoku. In this region there is still a great folk tradition where the more esoteric sides of Eastern religion are still practiced today. These female shamans photographed starkly by Masatoshi Naito are celebrating death. They mourn the dead, perform rituals to evoke the spirits of the deceased, and then perform ritualistic dances all night. These women are exuberant and in celebration, of not life but death. Naito’s images pay homage to this time-old tradition with his bright flash; graphically illuminating the characters who continue this time-old tradition today.  

Text written by Cole Tracy