Ura Nihon. Photographs and text by Hiroshi Hamaya (text in Japanese, with some English translation). Shinchosha, Tokyo, 1957. 116 pp. Folio. First edition. INSCRIBED on front flyleaf with calligraphic brush and signed in both Kanji and English, with added chock stamps: "Mama CAPA san/for/Robert Capa/Hiroshi Hamaya/September 1961.*" Clothbound in photo-illustrated dust jacket. 71 Gravure reproductions with 8 pp. in color.
An amazing, unique association copy linking Hiroshi Hamaya--the very first Asian member of the famed Magnum Agency--with Robert Capa, one of the agency's founders. Capa died in 1954, of course; so, in a very touching gesture, this copy was presented as a memorial of sorts to Capa's mother, inscribed to his memory. Hamaya joined Magnum in 1960.
"[During the immediate postwar period in Japan] the combination of the surrender, the shattering of the myth of the emperor’s divinity, and the American occupation had thrown into question Japan’s national identity. Photographers sought an answer, turning to areas that seemed to reflect the true essence of the country. Hiroshi Hamaya’s two major documents of the 1940s and 1950s, Yukiguni (Snow Land) and Ura Nihon (Japan’s Back Coast), are two of the finest examples of these studies of the ‘traditional’ Japan that had remained largely unchanged for decades.
Hamaya’s images of the rural families of Aomori and Niigata show a remarkable strength and resilience in the face of harsh natural conditions. With these images the Tokyo-born photographer contributed to the search for a national identity with an optimistic portrait of the strength of the Japanese people and the importance of rites and rituals in their daily lives. These series distanced themselves from the prevalent photo-realist movement, echoing instead the French humanist photography of Robert Doisneau and Henri Cartier-Bresson."--from the catalogue for the 2007 exhibition Eyes of an Island, Japanese photography 1945-2007, organised by Studio Equis in collaboration with the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London..
Near Fine- in Very Good dust jacket; just a bit shaken (hinges still secure); small area of rather faint dampstaining at lower edge of rear board; a few small areas of spotting to upper edge of rear board; minor bumping to upper corners with text block effected just slightly; jacket shows some slight staining on verso; moderate edge wear; slight loss at crown of spine; 1 1/2" tear to front panel.