Fifteen years ago, I visited Sado Island for the first time as part of a location scouting trip for a film.
Although the movie was not shot there in the end, the impression I had of the place has remained with me ever since, which is why I chose this location for my GFX100 II project.
The island is historically known as an island of exile, yet the exiles were all intelligent intellectuals, including poets who criticized the imperial family, emperors who were defeated in a power struggle, religious figures who criticized the shogunate, and Noh actors who provoked the anger of the shogun. There is a sense of “the sensitivity to ephemera” as cultures of various eras are layered and decomposed throughout the island to form a geological stratum.
Seisui-ji Temple was founded in 808 by Emperor Kanmu, the 50th emperor of the capital, under the authority of Ken’o Houshi.
The Kannondō was built to resemble the Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. The absence of human presence and the way it stands almost hidden by the deep greenery seem to reveal the spirit of the people of that time.
There are many existing Noh stages on Sado Island, where the Noh culture has taken root. The Noh stage at Ozen Shrine was established in 1846 (Koka 2nd year), and is said to be the oldest existing Noh stage on Sado Island.
The shrine is a pleasant place, well-maintained in every inch of the building. I feel myself straightening my spine every time I visit.
Chokokuji Temple was modeled after Haseji Temple in Yamato, which was established by Kobo Daishi in 807.
It is said that when Zeami, who had enraged Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, was exiled to Sado Island, he crossed a mountain pass from Matsugasaki to reach this Chokokuji temple. It is only natural to imagine how difficult the journey must have been for Zeami, considering his old age and emotions back then.
On the mountain behind Gochidō, there are many moss-covered gravestones and five-ringed pagodas, and here too, the history seems to be layered to form a geological stratum.
The image of Gochido standing in the dark forest in the dusk was taken at ISO 800, handheld at shutter speed 1/28 and f/4.6. The image was sharp for which I could feel the evolution of the image stabilization system.
Textures and shadows that were not apparent at the time of shooting, also stood out, revealing the tonal quality of the GFX100 II.
There is a cave at Iwayakuchi near the northern tip of Sado Island where rocks form a luminous body. Inside, the cave is dark and narrow, with a pool of spring water. Receiving a faint light from the outer world, the reflection of the light on the rocks and water was a mystical sight.
At this point, I used a tripod, increased the sensitivity, and shot with a slow shutter speed. I was able to capture the magical glow without any noise.
I shot the Koshisa Strait shining in the morning sun from the ferry. The shadows of the clouds and the waves created by the ship gave an interesting nuance to the scene. Indeed, it was beautiful.
I used a telephoto lens with a teleconverter and handheld at a shutter speed of 1/4000. I was able to capture the fine expression of the waves and light.
The silver and gold rush that continued from about the same time as the opening of the Edo period to the modern age, the Miyabi culture that existed long before that, traces of the Jomon period, and the mysterious and rich island of Sado, with its rugged mountains and virgin forests… I am sure to return to this fascinating island throughout the seasons of the year.