The Secret World of the Inquisitive Hokkaido Fox

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Romance is in the air. It was the time of day immediately following sunset. I heard a voice. “Wherever you go, I will follow you” the voice says.

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A Wild Fox Chase

For Hokkaido-based photographer Hiroki Inoue, the “living landscape” found in his region is a constant inspiration. Biei, also known as “the town of many hills” is the artist’s preferred shooting location; its undulating hills, vast meadows full of wildflowers and mysterious, seemingly impenetrable forests transport the viewer into this magical, secret world. The elusive fox appears and disappears unexpectedly amidst the vivid flora and rapidly changing climatic conditions, making the photographer’s task all the more challenging, Hiroki elaborates: “I feel that the difficulty of attainment increases the beauty of the fox”. His long-term project the Magical Photos of Hokkaido focuses on the “intellectual beauty” of the fox in its environment.

The fox has a special place in Japanese folklore. There are a variety of stories which depict foxes as intelligent beings, often possessing magical powers, or the ability to shape shift into men or women.

There are a large number of wild foxes that live in the rolling hills that surround Biei, though the photographer emphasises the unpredictability of an encounter with one; this is indeed the driving force behind this series: “It is as if god only knows when and where he will emerge”. In order to capture striking images such as Wherever you go, I will follow you, Hiroki frequently enters the fox’s natural habitat, observing and waiting for that magic moment.

The artist feels most devoted to A Wild Fox Chase, a portrait of Kita-Kitsune, an image which so strikingly conveys the beauty and inquisitive nature of the Hokkaido red fox. The fox and the picturesque landscape it inhabits still inspires Hiroki Inoue, who asserts that he will continue to photograph foxes as long as they and himself are alive.

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Chubby Fox. How much did you eat? He has gained weight day by day from fall through winter. Unfortunately, he got sandwich from human the order of the day.

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Ice Dance. Diamond dust on very cold morning. You can see Diamond Dust Pillar at Biei, Hokkaido, Japan in January, February.

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Twin Tails

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It is sunny now, finally! Yesterday, and days before, sun and autumn rain was cold in Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaido, Japan. He didn’t look fine and plodded along the late autumn road. Rain disturb his auditory sense. He seems he have eaten no mouse for several days. Evening came, at last the sunlight strikes the late autumn road for the first time in several days. He cheerfully looks up at the sky. I see you feel as I do, it is sunny now finally!

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A wheat hill. Spring Wheat Field at early summer daybreak

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White birch precision dance. White birch trees leaped out from the forest to dance, late autumn colors in Hokkaido, Japan

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Kitune Dango (dumpling-viewing fox)

All photos © Hiroki Inoue

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