In Japan, some of the ancient beliefs and customs have survived. Shinto is not widely followed as a religion per se, but people have respect for the shrines. The shrines are the centre of activity for the “matsuri” which are traditional celebratory dances that take place throughout country, especially summer. Shimohira has been photographing “matsuri” since 2005, when he first watched the “Shishimai” (lion dance) dance at Hachinohe shrine. The first time when he looked into the Shishi (lion)’s eyes, he realized that this is the path he must follow.

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