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Isao HIRACHI "Hot Spring Geisha" 1975 Photobook

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Isao HIRACHI, photographer. "Onsen Geisha" - "Hot Spring Geisha." Japan: Nora Sha, 1975, First Edition, PB, decorative slipcase, 26 cm x 18 cm, 131 pp, 93 single- and double-page high contrast gravure style b/w reproductions, four pages of Japanese text.

Nice presentation. Perhaps influenced by Kuwabara's Tokyo 1936 from the previous year, Onsen Geisha is also designed to feel like a book from another time. Settings, kimonos and style of photography could very well have been the 1950s or even the 1930s. The book evokes the movies of Ozu and Mizoguchi and novels like Kawabata's Snow Country. The geisha in Kawabata's famous novel were also Onsen Geisha. The term has always carried negative connotations since the geisha of mountain hot spring resorts traditionally enjoyed none of the social status of the artistically trained geisha in Kyoto and Tokyo. The line between geisha and common prostitute was far more blurry. The mountain inns where the hot spring geisha worked were frequented by traveling men and paid female companionship was a staple of the economy. Though designed to evoke nostalgia, the people in Hirachi's photobook are real people in real towns - some young, some old - but all have their lives etched on their faces. In novels and movies the careers of onsen geisha inevitably end in downward spirals but the people in Hirachi's book seem remarkably normal - at times serious, happy, business-like, playful.

Condition: Book and Case are both Very Good. Book spine is very strong for this book, interior is very clean. Still has the original Japanese-style price tag inside.

Shipping costs: Checkout settings are for International airmail "small packet" (available for packages up to 2 kg), delivery estimated at 5-8 days - $15.90. Two other shipping options are also available: Economy airmail shipping SAL (surface/air), delivery estimated at 2-3 weeks - $9.80; and International EMS (express mail service), delivery estimated within 2-4 days - $22.20. Shipping weight: approx. 825g.

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