Photo Book " JOKEI "

"JOKEI - Symbols of Nature Worship, Sacred Places of Japan"

The book was highly awarded by INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 


Kaniwa spent a year and a half exploring the symbols of Japanese nature worship, which are exemplified in the “eight million gods” of Shinto, and reflecting on 
 how ancient Japanese viewed natural scenery and symbolized it as an object of prayer. Traveling to over twenty locations throughout Japan, she used long-exposure photography to capture images of torii gates built in water, sacred “wedded rocks,” World Heritage sites, and other spiritual landscapes. 
She then used unique editing techniques to elevate the photographs to fine art pieces.

These images are collected, together with text, in her book JOKEI: Nature Worship, Sacred Places in Japan. Praised by globally acclaimed black-and-white photographer Joel Tjintjelaar, the book includes the Tancho—Japanese Crane series, which won first prize in the Professional Wildlife/Animals Category of the Fine Art Photography Awards 2017 and is part of Kaniwa’s Birds of Japanese Myths and Folklore project, as well as the Flying Eagle series, which won second prize in the same category.

This groundbreaking collection of photographs uses images of natural Japanese scenery to cut across landscape,
nature, wildlife, and the spiritual world.
The commendation of this work in an international competition is deeply meaningful for the artist.

In Buddhism, Jodo, or “Pure Lands”, refer to the sacred realms inhabited by a buddha. The title of this photo book, Jokei,
(meaning “Pure Scenes”) refers to this concept.Through this, I hope to continue an experiment in visual analogy to capture how, in an era without modern technology or precise computing, our ancestors perceived the vast natural world and how they intuited, understood, and gave expression to nature’s formative energies to communicate with it, as well as uncover what kind of world it is that we are living in now, at this moment.    
___ Eriko Kaniwa



The book includes all award winning works
Text written in both English and Japanese.
Format : W355mm × H225mm Hard cover A4 96p : Inkjet printing.
Publisher : Japan Create / Printed in Japan 2017 / Self published


        Joel Tjintjelaar 

 "Spiritual Landscape in Japan"


The Japanese landscape has always provided ample inspiration for many photographic artists, not in the least, for those outside of Japan. No wonder, the Torii for example are very photogenic architectural objects, that add to the aesthetics and symbolism of a photo. But more than that, they are also sacred objects that are a reflection of a nation’s attachment and proximity to nature and a symbol for Japanese spirituality. Unfortunately, also in Japan, spirituality and the intimate relationship with nature, is gradually disappearing in favour of the new global religion of technology.

Japanese photographer and artist Eriko Kaniwa knows and feels better than any outsider what this Japanese spirituality is, how it is formed by nature and how it is experienced and practiced in daily life. Eriko’s images of Torii, but also of the Jokei, ‘The water veins’, the ‘Wedding Rocks’ and the award winning images of the Japanese Crane and Eagle, are beautiful artistic reflections of the close connection there once was between Japanese people and the natural environment they live in.

Eriko interpreted Japanese nature in all the beautifully crafted images, in a way that is not only an expression of craftsmanship in black and white and photography, but also does justice to the aesthetics of the Japanese landscape environment and the intimate and spiritual connection with nature. Hence, also conveying a meaningful message that goes beyond the aesthetics of the photos and is worth preserving.

Joel Tjintjelaar / Fine Art Photographer, Educator
Website - BWVISION.COM :


I really appreciate again to all juries and staffs of IPA and TIFA. I would like to say deep gratitude for people who were involved in, espacially Makoto Ando, Shinobu Ando, Kentaro of Hickoly Wind in Hokkaido, the priests of every shrine, Joel Tjintjelaar - contiributing auther, my mentor-friend, publisher JAPAN CREATE, all of my friend, and to my family.
It would be my great pleasure if you enjoy the book.  


Copyright (c) 2008-2023 by SENSEGRAPHIA- Eriko Kaniwa. All rights reserved.

All Images on this site are fully copyrighted, may not be used without written permission. Please contact me for any inquiries regarding use of images.      


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