Daido Moriyama‘s photobook ‘ Ango‘ – a visual tale of jet-black photographs inspired by Ango Sakaguchi’s famous short-story “In the Forest, Beneath Cherries in Full Bloom” about an old version of the symbolic meaning of cherry blossoms as demonic beauty of the fears.
“Nowadays, when the cherries bloom, people think it’s time for a party. They go under the trees and eat and drink and mouth the old sayings about spring and pretty blossoms, but it’s all one big lie. I mean, it wasn’t until Edo, maybe a couple of hundred years ago, that people started crowding under cherry blossoms to drink and puke and fight. In the old days – the really old days – nobody gave a damn about the view. They were scared to go under the blossoms. People today think they can have a wild time under the trees, but take the people out of the picture and it’s just plain scary… Without people, a forest of cherries in full bloom is not pretty, just something to be afraid of.”
Through a strange romance between a beautiful but monstrous woman and a bandit, who scared of nothing except the feeling when going under cherry blossoms in bloom, at the end when he dispelled his fears and felt a relief, he found that the secret of the cherry forest might be the frightening loneliness and infinite emptiness.
“Even now, no one knows the secret of the cherry forest in full bloom. Perhaps it was loneliness. For the man no longer had to fear loneliness. He was loneliness itself. Now, for the first time, he looked all around. Above him where the blossoms. Beneath them was the silent, infinite emptiness, the stillness of the rain of blossoms. That was all. Beyond that, there was no secret.”
The quotations are from the story.