Kisei Kobayashi: Primitive Cries in the Night (AKAAKA, 2019)

After graduation from the Department of Photography, Tokyo Polytechnic University in 1988, Kisei Kobayashi (* 1968) from Suwa city, Nagano, worked for Nikkan Kogyo Newspaper as a photographer. Three and a half years later, he resigned and went on a wandering journey to Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, India and other countries.

His first book Asian Japanese (1995) with his writings and photographs made a major success of selling over a hundred thousand copies. In 1997, he won Newcomer’s Award of the Photographic Society of Japan for Days Asia.

The recording of ceremonies and festivals in various regions of Japan, such as Onbashirasai festival – taking place once every six years in Suwa city -, turned out to be a catalyst. In 1999, he had already published the photo book homeland compiling photographs taken before and after Onbashirasai festival and, in recent years, his focus has widen to the whole of Japan.


Having spent six years to visit more than 40 traditional festivals and ritual ceremonies throughout Japan, Japanese photographer Kisei Kobayashi’s book Primitive Cries in the Night presents a powerful visual journey to the borders of our world and into moments when the present overlaps with hundreds of years of history.

The many different rituals he captured – some in the mountains, others near the sea; many involving fire and smoke, costumes and collective performances – take place at night, the time when “a mysterious feeling takes over, and the people, sceneries and sights in front of you transform. Time and space become twisted and our world begins to blend with another world. ”

Publisher’s Info

Publisher: AKAAKA