The Whiteness of a Whale, Robert Zhao Renhui & Satoshi Kataoka

Self Published

Omishima is a fishing village in the southwest of Japan which in its heyday was home to about 6,000 people. Omishima residents were often referred to as The Whale People, or kujira no hitobito, the people who lived among whales. The Whale People got their name because of their obsessive and bizarre worship of all things whale-related. Huge temples in the shape of whales were erected and statues of flukes - a whale’s upright tail - can still be seen along the coast. Religious ceremonies such as The Arrival, where groups of people rowed out to sea in small boats to touch a giant paper mache whale, were also conducted annually. The village loved whales, but in particular, it was obsessed with a certain white whale that was spotted by a monk in 1937. He had seen the creature along the Omishima coast and reported it to the local authorities, and this incident sparked a search for the mysterious animal.

The Whiteness of a Whale highlights how an encounter with an unfamiliar culture exposes the loopholes associated with mediation, documentary (aesthetic and journalistic), systems of knowledge, written history and subjective recordings. This book is a compilation of research, documents and interviews, produced in collaboration with The Institute of Critical Zoologists. It offers a unique perspective into the unwritten history of The Whale People of Omishima.

It includes articles written by Satoshi Kataka and Dr. Yoshio Masui. Also in the book is an interview with the last remaining descendant of The Whale People, Mr Kazuhiro Nagashima.

Self Published
Edition of 600
28 pages
170 × 240 mm

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