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Synonymous with Jack London’s literary classic entitled ‘White Fang’, Motoki’s photographs portraying the dog fighting or “Inu AI” (Dog Meeting) tradition in the northern prefecture Aomori captures both the nature and relationship between owner and animal as well as the battle between the animals themselves. MOTOKI’s White Fang tells the history of this tradition, how it began and how it has changed within society from post-war japan up until today, balancing both the cultural sensitivities towards dog fights with the pride, honor and tradition in which the fights are carried out. Here the images are stark and compelling, beautifully managing to encapsulate environment and landscape, utilizing portraiture in capturing man and animal along the visual narratives of the timeless binaries of nature vs nurture , wild vs tamed.
“A dog fight was held in Aomori in January 2014. Aomori is a snowy area, located at the northern part of Japan. Well trained dogs, the pride and joy of their owners, were brought to the battlefield early in the morning. The dogs seemed to fight on instinct, as if it was their destiny.”
- Excerpt from White Fang by Motoki