Shinzo Hanabusa is yet another artist to be featured in the upcoming festival of photography, Chobi Mela III. Hanabusa’s work on Japanese farmers provides a fascinating insight into the cost of ‘progress’, in a nation like Japan.
The Second World War had adversely affected farming in Japan. I began producing a documentary on farming in 1962. The farmers were not getting a fair price for their milk. Then Japan started importing powder milk and things got really bad. In 1966 I heard rumours that the farmers in Akita were setting up a resistance movement. Following newspaper leads I went over to the locality. I was very upset, when I saw them throw the milk from the bridge as a sign of protest, at the fact that they had been reduced to this. But a big publication, Ewanami Shoten, printed the photograph and it helped turn things around a bit, so I felt good afterwards. I have since become known as ‘The Milk Photographer’. I hope the publication of this photograph in Southern Exposure helps farmers around the world get a fair price for their produce.
Shinzo Hanabusa, Japan