The dawn of photography in Hokkaido really meant a dawn in Japanese photography.
Without thinking too much, the names of pioneer photographers such as Kenzou Tamoto, Koukichi Kizu, Matusaburo Yokoyama, Seiichi Takebayashi, Kokichi Ida and Sakuma Hanzo come to mind.
Right from the early images recording the start of the general development of Hokkaido in the year 1872, a great number of photographers have had their work chosen, engaged with, and transported to today’s world, and while they of course work as valuable relicts, any contemporary photographer who chooses to engage the photography of the distant past will discover an immeasurable amount of messages and influences.
This group of people have become known as the Northern Photographers, and I always connected them to my image of the lone wolves scurrying through the north’s forests and plains. Despite there being no tangible connection to workers of the past, their travels, or the immediacy of the subjects featured in photographs of the Northern Photographers, when I think of Hokkaido and take photos, my memories and thoughts towards them always touch my heart.
- Excerpt from Daido Moriyama