Japan is a unique country in the sense that a large majority of people are irreligiously devout.
There still are many temples and shrines all over the country, but the roles they play in people’s daily lives are far less significant compared to the pre-modern generation.
That, however, does not mean that people stopped believing in what the used to believe in. The scale to which the Shintoist and Buddhist practices are formally carried out is diminishing, but people’s beliefs are very much present in their minds today, and their sense of values remain intact.
From very early years of Japan’s recorded history, people believed in the concept that every thing, regardless of a living thing or a non-living object, has a spirit or a soul. They also believed that there were myriad of gods residing in mountains, winds, oceans, soils, fires and many other natural entities. They thanked them in times of peace, feared them at times of turmoil and disasters, and worshiped them in their daily lives, hoping that they remain remote from potential misfortunes and tragedies.
I, like many other Japanese people today, stay humble and pay great respect to nature in Japan, and I take photos and create works of art in order to pay tribute.
I sense the presence of sprits, souls, and nature gods more strongly as I grow older, and my desire to depict them is becoming more intense.
Through my works of landscapes, I try to visualize what I see and feel at various places of Japan, and it is my sincere hope that they reach the hearts of many people and add something to their lives however trivial it may be.

Masa Onikata


Moonlit Japan (ムーンリット・ジャパン)とは「月に照らされた日本」という意味です。
古き時代から人々は月の動きに基づいて日々の生活を送っていました。また、月に思いを馳せ、歌に詠んだり、時の移ろいを月に重ねて感傷にふけったりしてきました。
煌々と輝く太陽と比べ、月はほのかに光り、優しく、風情があり、人々が気持ちを投影するロマンチックな存在に思えます。
私は歳を重ねるごとに日本の美しさや素晴らしさをより深く理解し、日本人の情緒や繊細さを大切に思うようになってきましたが、ムーンリット・ジャパンという響きは、そんな私が創る作品の世界観を表現する言葉として最も適していると感じるのです。
幸運にも撮影で様々な新しい土地を訪ねる機会に恵まれていますが、神々の気配を感じるとき、私は足を止め、辺りを見渡します。普段は影を潜めている山の神、水の神、風の神や精霊たちが、ほんの一瞬私に話しかけてくれる気がして、よく見ると、ほぼ必ず作品の主題となるものが見つかります。そして、穏やかな気持ちで対話を楽しむようにシャッターを切るのです。
日本と日本人の中にある尊いものを形にし、お届けするのが私の使命だと思っています。皆さんの心の深い場所にある感情に直接訴えかけることができたらこんなに幸せなことはありません。

マサ・オニカタ


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