Group of 100 Devotees of Koyasan and Kumano


Member Profiles


Eriko Koga

Eriko Koga was born in the city of Fukuoka in 1980. She is a graduate of Sophia University’s Department of French Literature. Her maiden work, Asakusa Zenzai (2003 - 2008), which documented the daily life of an elderly couple living in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, was chosen for inclusion in the photo documentary, “NIPPON,” and was a jury’s choice selection for the PRIX {virginia} photography prize; she also received the Photo City Sagamihara new photographer encouragement award for this photo collection (Seigensha Art Publishing). In 2014, she received the Sankei Children's Book Award for her book, Sekai no Tomodachi 12 Cambodia (Kaisei-Sha). In 2015, Koga used Koyasan as the focus for her book, Issan (AKAAKA Art Publishing). An exhibition of her Issan photography dazzled the KG+ judging committee, earning her the Grand Prix Award. The following year Koga exhibited her TRYADHVAN photography collection at the KYOTOGRAPHIE art exhibition along with releasing it in book form (AKAAKA Art Publishing). In 2020, she is releasing her work, Kane, which is inspired by the Japanese folktale of Anchin and Kiyohime. Koga has displayed her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both in Japan and overseas. Her photography has been included in the collections of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, the National Library of France and various other institutions. She lives in Kyoto City.

It was in the summer of 2009 that I first visited Koyasan, where my photography was being exhibited as part of the “Happy maker in Koyasan” art project. As someone born and raised in Fukuoka whose life since university had been spent in Tokyo, it was my first time visiting Wakayama Prefecture. I rode the Nankai Line alone from Namba Station in Osaka. The trip took around two hours, and, as the train moved progressively higher, the rural landscape fell away and became something else entirely. Even now the image is indelibly seared into my memory. I saw forests: old forests of such dark green as to appear black pressed in all around, giving off a sense of forboding inaccessibility. I disembarked at the last stop, Gokurakubashi Station, and, upon breathing the pure air deep into my lungs, felt a sense of trepidation about boarding the cable car that would take me up Koyasan, wondering if I would return alive. However, Koyasan ended up completely stealing my heart, and, over the next five years, I explored it through photography, the results of which became my book, Issan. Koyasan has a gradual warming effect on the hearts of those who visit. For me, I am so filled with gratitude for and memories of Koyasan that I consider it to be the home of my heart.
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