When I was a little, my parents had taught me that Japan is the country that the sun raises very first in Asia and this is the origin of the country name. I still remember clearly watching how beautiful the sun came up and how my parents looked at it with proud eyes back then.
In fact, Japan at that period was the time called high-speed economic growth and GNP of Japan was ranked at the top in the world. The sun raises first in Japan among the Asian countries which made Japanese people feel that we were the best. My parents were no exceptions because of the big economic leap at that time.
However Japan’s economy has had many ups and downs. Importing oil caused the prices of products to increase. The Japanese economy flourished from investments in land, but soon it burst.
During the bubble economy, we took it for granted and never thought it would be over someday. We should have considered what to do before it collapsed.
Then the word ‘The golden country; Zipang’ came up to my mind. Marco Polo referred to our country as this in his book Book of the Marvels world’ written in 13th century. This book is also commonly known as The travelers of Marco Polo. He described Japan like this because Japan had been thought of the country with a lot of gold and there was a palace built with gold. It is true that gold was mined in Tohoku area in old time and there is a temple covered with gold.
But I think that the golden country doesn’t mean to be abundance of gold. In the agricultural time, people struggled with cultivating small and bad conditioned lands of Japan. Natural disasters happened very often. But people adored nature and tried to live with it. With the patience, the strength and the strong bond between people deserved as ‘gold’. These sprits are Japanese itself. This is what I call ‘the golden country’, Zipang.
We have to be more grateful for the sun rising first. To live with the sprits as living in the golden country is the true picture of Japan. People have lived with an effort and the strength since ancient times, which is as precious as gold. I try to express how Japanese people have lived with those sprits in the Land of Zipang in my photographs.