I have been taking photographs of the ethnic minorities and free-range 'pigs' in Yunnan, China, since 1991. In 1997, I became the first female recipient of one of Japan's major photographic awards, the 'Taiyoh Award" (34th). In 1998, I published a book entitled Pigs of Yunnan from Media Factory Co. in Japan. Also published another book in 2001 titled, Pigs & People of Yunnan. I am also a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS). I have received a government grant for artists and will be going back and forth, basing myself in both Japan and Yunnan from September 2004.
I travel to Yunnan, China 3-4 times a year. Yunnan is located near the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. In the north, there are high snow capped mountains that lead to Tibet. In the south, there are sub-tropical virgin forests where wild elephants and tigers still live. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan is called the Spring City because the weather is like springtime all year round. Among the 55 ethnic minorities in China, about half live in Yunnan, maintaining their traditions and culture. It is a lovely place.
When you go to a village in Yunnan, you might notice pigs roaming around freely. They can be found napping in the middle of a dirt road, or scavenging for food in the market, or even sitting inside their owner's house. This is something that cannot be seen in Tokyo and so I have been also photographing these funny pigs.