KEN DOMON’S TWO SCARCE SOCIAL DOCUMENTARIES ON THE DEPRESSED JAPANESE COAL-MINING REGION, 1960
DOMON, Ken. Chikuho no Kodomotachi (Children of Chikuho). WITH: Rumie-chan wa Otosan ga Shinda (Rumie’s Father is Dead). Tokyo: Patoria Shoten; Kenko-Sha, 1960. Two volumes. Tall, slim octavo, original glossy photographic wrappers; both pp. 96. $1300.
First edition, third printing of Children of Chikuho and first edition, first printing of Rumie’s Father is Dead— both important photo-commentaries on the lives of children in the flagging coal-mining regions of Japan, with numerous revealing halftones and photogravures.
“Ken Domon is widely regarded as Japan’s leading photographer of the immediate post-war years… He worked in the classic photojournalistic mode, seeking to document Japanese life in the troubled aftermath of the war… During the 1950s, at a time when the rest of the Japanese economy was beginning to recover to prewar levels, the coal-mining areas of Chikuho and Kitakyushu, in the far south of Japan, suffered both from a population exodus and pit closures… Domon documented the effects of this drastic decline on the miners and their families in [these] two books… Both look at the plight of the district’s children… He aimed to reach out to the broadest possible readership, thus he had the books printed cheaply, on rough paper, in the manner of a bound newspaper” (Parr & Badger, 274, 278). Text in Japanese.
Near-fine copies. Scarce in any printing and in any condition.