Sasameyuki, Sprinkling of snow

Cherry tree, 1983 © Edouard Boubat

Sasameyuki was written during the air raids, the tragedy reinforcing the feeling that the traditional Japan – whose radical transformation had already begun with an industrialisation which would upset wealth distribution and the social order – was going to disappear completely.

“The Two Tales of the Four Sisters” illustrates the thread running through the story. Yukiko, a snow-white woman in her thirties, embodies the discreet, shy, woman with a restricted way of life who can be liberated by the changes taking place. These have the force of an all-consuming tsunami, like the one caused on 1 September 1923 by the Great Tokyo megathrust” earthquake in Kantō  – In the heart of Japan’s most populated region – whose description by Tanizaki is overwhelming in every sense of the word. But unsinkable, unchanging Japan lives with such phenomena and has learned to survive them.  Every year, in April, Sasameyuki, a sprinkling of snow, leads to the worship of cherry trees, whose blossoming in accordance with a set timeframe, familiar to and expected by everyone from the south of the archipelago to the edges of Hokkaido, unites the whole country in an act of life-saving contemplation.  This year the Makioka family – like many again in recent days – are making their pilgrimage to Kyoto, with their antediluvian silver Leica camera, to contemplate the magnificent spectacle of the cherry blossom, to commune collectively with nature, which is both powerful and at times destructive, but whose forgiveness also knows how to make up for it…

Japanese cherry blossom, 2021 © Touria Ramcharan

Tribute to Edouard Boubat

handwritten: for Patrick Pascal
With the light
Edouard Boubat, 13 May 1996

The great photographer Edouard Boubat’s grandson once asked his grandfather: « Give me something that won’t die ».

The answer was an album filled with light, the light of the photographs, i.e. the light in Edouard Boubat’s eyes…

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