Deriving from the characters of hot water and curing, the word “tohjiba” is used to characterize the natural hot springs of Japan. Used for over a millennia as a place of relaxation and recuperation, Kazuo Kitai often visited these tohjibas within the northern areas of Honshu during the 1970s. Here, this publication presents an intimate portrayal of the people and communities whom frequented and lived in these small villages.

Artist Profile


Kazuo Kitai, born in China in 1944, is best known for his protest photography of the 1960s and 1970s. He earned the prestigious Ihei Kimura Memorial Award for Photography for his work “Mura-e”, a year-long documentation of Japan’s rural life. In the 1980s, he concerned himself with the citizens of Osaka and Tokyo (”Shinsekai Monogatari”, “Funabashi Monogatari”). Recent years have seen him publish a regular column in Nippon Camera magazine (”Walking with Leica”) as well as a rise of public interest in his work both in Japan and overseas.

Gallery Exhibitions