These are photos of “Nagino” at the depths of the mountain in Niigata, northern part of Japan.
The controlled burning of mountains is called “Nagino” in this region. This agricultural method has been done at the beginning of the night of every August. It initializes the natural transition artificially and tries to regenerate the soil with the ash. This repeatable farming style used to be done actively through the mountainside of Japan, but now there are only a few places including this settlement to inherit this way. It starts from cutting weeds growing on the slope of the mountain before pitting on fire in the night.
Once put on the fire, the ash blows up to the night sky as it intertwines with the sparks and then falls down to the slope like snow. Gradually, the mountain is covered entirely white.
In Japan, people say, “To return the white”; White is the symbol color for the beginning and innocent. The mountain was “reborn” by the coverage of white ash.
The burning itself can be a destructive act, but “Nagino” has led the regeneration of the mountain by fire, ash, and men. The mountain engulfed in flames in the night as a subject drastic change into the creation without relation to any destruction. This paradox where the destruction seems to be creative is the fascinating fact of photography. I could see it within “Nagino”. It was a real imaginative and fantastic night.
All images © Arito Nishiki
By Arito Nishiki