This Complete Edition of “Goze” includes previously unpublished photographs and offers an unprecedented view at Shoko Hashimoto’s masterful series from the 1970s, newly selected, edited and scanned from over 10,000 original negatives by Michitaka Ota, founder of publisher Sokyusha.

From spring 1972 until summer 1973, Shoko Hashimoto traveled around Niigata Prefecture together with a group of goze, blind women entertainers who performed and told stories in exchange for food and shelter. Today, there are no longer goze traveling around. Life was already difficult for the goze in the 1970s, and the continuing industrial, economic and urban developments of postwar Japan have only accelerated since then. Hashimoto’s astonishing photographs document the life of these women. We see them taking baths, relaxing on the floor, sleeping at night, and endlessly roaming from village to village. Hashimoto’s distinct style, which renders the scenes with an almost painterly quality, knows which parts to emphasize: in landscape shots, the scenery appears to almost swallow the women; when faces are involved, the emotions are vivid.

In addition to previously unpublished photographs, this Complete Edition also includes Shoko Hashimoto’s diary from his time with the goze, available in Japanese and in English translation.

-Book Size
200 × 200 mm
204 pages, 172 images
-Publication Year
English, Japanese
-Limited Edition

Artist Profile


Born in Ishinomaki in 1939, Hashimoto graduated from Nihon University, College of Art in 1964, specializing in photography. In 1974, he received the Newcomer Award from the Photographic Society of Japan with his photobook “Goze” (Nora-sha). In the same year, the series was selected for the “15 Photographers” exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and collected by the museum. Hashimoto actively photographed Lee Dynasty folk paintings in Korea from 1979 to 1981. He had travelled to Nagano, Yamagata, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Yamanashi and Miyagi prefectures to document the folk customs of Japan that were gradually disappearing as a photojournalist. Since 2011, he has regularly returned to photograph his hometown, Ishinomaki, which was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. His recent solo exhibitions include: “Goze” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2013; Zeit-Foto Salon, 2014), “Nishiyama Onsen — Empire of Nakedness” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2014), “A Village Lullaby” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2015), “Biwa Houshi” (Zeit-Foto Salon, 2016), “Literary Scholars” (Sokyusha, 2017), “Goze” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2020), “Goze — Shoko Hashimoto” (Ikeda Art Museum, Niigata, 2022), and “Goze” (AN-A Fundación, Barcelona, 2022). His publications include: “Goze” (Aron Shobo, 1988), “Kitakami River” (Shumpusha, 2014), “Nishiyama Onsen” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2014), “Kitakami River New Edition” (Shumpusha, 2015), “Undergrowth” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2016), “San’ya 1968.8.1–8.20” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2017), “Goze Asahigraph Reprint” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2019), “Goze” (New Complete Edition, Zen Foto Gallery, 2021), and "Ishinomaki" (Zen Foto Gallery, 2023)

Gallery Exhibitions