"By a railway track, in a local police station, down in the streets, in the tanne-ries around Tokyo, in the markets, an investigator follows a trail, in a strange case. He is tracking the murderer of Sato Tadashi, parts of whose body (his nose, two fingers and penis) have been discovered on 13 January 1958, hid-den in a vat of oil in the Irabaki Prefecture. Yukichi WATABE, then a young photo-journalist, was granted exceptional authorisation to shadow the investigators.
(Some photographs from the series appeared in a magazine that same year, but there was no opportunity for further publication. So the photographs remained little known. In 2006, a British old bookseller found 120 sheets of these photographic works in Jinbou-chou (central Tokyo), and the work was published in Paris in 2011. This photo book, 'A Criminal Investigation', caused a worldwide sensation.)
In this photo volume, 'A Criminal Investigation', the photographer Yukichi WATABE documents an intermediate situation - neither the moment of the murder, nor that of the arrest – akin to a search for identity. By following the scattered clues, W. embraces this subtle turning-point there is in any investigation, when the detective puts himself in the killer’s shoes so as to adopt his way of thinking. And when the man dissolves, there surfaces a Japan that is still hesitating between its pre-war geography and a new, urban visage, symbol of its spectacular recovery.
Following the extended metaphor of troubled identity, the codes no longer belong to photography only but also to cinema: a sequential logic, a certain linearity and a completely narrative framing: images unfold and involve the onlooker. Shot after shot, the mystery is engulfing those in charge of solving it." (slightly adapted publisher's text, © Xavier Barral, 2011)
- LE BAL
- Book design
- Xavier BARAL
- Linen bound HC (no dust jacket, as issued), japanese binding, 21 x 29 x 2 cm., 100 pp., b/w ills., bilingual texts: French / English