Zen Foto Gallery is pleased to present a publication commemoration exhibition for Shoko Hashimoto’s “Goze Asahi Graph Reprint”. The photo exhibition will include 25 works in black and white selected from Hashimoto’s massive collection of negatives from a different perspective.

Half a century ago in the early 1970s, Hashimoto accompanied three blind female music entertainers called the goze on their travels from village to village along the Sea of Japan. Throughout the four seasons, the goze would visit farmhouses and sing short songs accompanied by shamisen at the entrances during day time and narrative songs at night for the villagers who would gather. They were rewarded with rice, crops and money. As their profession links the women intimately with their customers, we are also allowed glimpses into the lives of the people they visit: children huddling around the kitchen table, farmer men laughing over a drink, families lining up along the road to have their picture taken. During that time, the existence of goze was already nearly lost—the industrial and urban development in Japan at that time led to a decline in agriculture and rural population, directly impacting their livelihood.

This reprint includes all photographs and articles published by Hashimoto in Asahi Graph magazine, a Japanese weekly pictorial magazine that has discontinued. Articles include: “Goze, Sightless Female Singers” from May 8, 1970; the “Four Seasons of Goze” series from October 26, November 2, November 9 and November 16, 1973—concluded with a new essay “The Goze’s Journey” written by Hasegawa Hiroshi. English translations are included for all texts.

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)

Publications & Prints