Hans Sautter, born in 1950 in Germany’s south, is a graduate of the Photo Academy in Munich. Japan was never his destination but a stopover on the way to Australia in 1972. The layover continues until today. After almost half a century of assimilation, Hans Sautter has the access and insight of an insider: The illusory exoticism of Japan is everyday life, and initial contradictions peel off connections and mechanisms. 

Hans specializes in editorial, corporate, and architectural assignments, working from a highly defined point of view, spending weeks or months to gain the necessary knowledge and trust of a subject. Hans has appeared in media by institutions like National Geographic, Smithsonian and the WWF; corporate clients like Siemens, Delta, and Mitsubishi; and leading magazines like Time, GEO and Nature. His first book on Japan was published by Bruckmann in 2007 and in 2010 by National Geographic France.

“To capture the images I see in my mind,” says Hans, “I climb mountains. I go through jungle rains. I become part of the insect food chain. I endure shivering cold, steaming hot, dry deserts, and primeval forests. I am not someone who sits in a studio brushing what is in his mind onto a blank canvas. I am a photographer. To get the exposures I want, I have to expose myself.”


THE INSIDER GAZE  - Peter Tasker

Peter Tasker’s long relationship with Japan began in a four and a half tatami-mat (7.4 square metres) room in a company dormitory where communal dining and communal bathing were the rule. After a period of deep immersion in the salaryman lifestyle, he entered the world of investment and was ranked as Japan’s number one stock market strategist for five years in a row by the Nikkei newspaper. He then co-founded Arcus Investment, a successful asset management firm. Known as an author, critic and speaker as well as analyst, he launched his writing career with Inside Japan (1986), and has produced several more books, fictional and non-fictional, together with innumerable articles on economic, political and cultural topics. In 2011, he co-operated with noted manga artist Toshio Ban to create the satirical I Am A Digital Cat: A Japanese Future. Recent publications include On Kurosawa (2018), a homage to the great film director, and Maximum Target (2016) a thriller set in North Korea, originally published under the name of Martin Gower. He has also translated the writings of Japanese underground icon Shuji Terayama. His blog can be found at petertasker.asia.

METROPOLIS  - Stephen Mansfield

Stephen Mansfield is a British photojournalist and author based in Japan since the late 1980’s. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals worldwide. Stephen is the author of books as diverse as Lao Hill Tribes: Traditions & Patterns of Existence, Tokyo: A Cultural & Literary History, and Tokyo: A Biography, where he delves into the geology, history, and present state of a postmodern city fixated on the present, embracing constant flux and transformation. Could his interest in urban mutability and street life be traced back to his days as a bassist in a European punk rock band? An author who writes extensively on Okinawan themes and issues of a cultural, ethnic and political character, his celebrated books on Japanese gardens include Japan’s Master Gardens: Lessons in Space & Environment, 100 Japanese Gardens, and Japanese Stone Gardens. He continues to go hands deep in the dirt of a moderately large Japanese garden he designed and built in the backyard of his home in Chiba prefecture.                                                                                                  

NATURE  - Holly Thompson 

Holly Thompson was raised amid the resilient nature of New England, where she worked summers at Audubon sanctuaries and earned a B.A. in biology from Mount Holyoke College. She is a longtime resident of Japan and author of Japan-set fiction including the novel Ash and three verse novels for young people:Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth, The Language Inside, andOrchards, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Research for Orchards included apprenticing to a mikan farmer in Shizuoka for eighteen months: planting, grafting, pruning, harvesting, and shipping the fruit plus working high on hillsides overlooking the bay.Also critical to her writing has been the study of land management practices and wildlife in rural village habitats. Holly also compiled and editedTomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories to support teens in tsunami-impacted regions of Tohoku, and she spent time in the Cambodian craft village created byJapanese textile artisan KikuoMorimoto, publishing profiles of him in Kyoto Journal and Wingspan.Holly writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for children, teens, and adults, and teaches writing in Japan, and the U.S. Visit her website www.hatbooks.com.

COSTUME  - Charles T. Whipple

Charles T. Whipple is an international award-winning copywriter, journalist, author, and novelist. His awards include Editor & Publisher Magazine DM Award, World Annual Report Competition Award, 2010 Oaxaca International Literature Award for A Matter of Tea, and 2011 Global eBook Award. Charles worked on the family ranch and farm in Show Low, Arizona, until college, majoring in Japanese History as a graduate student and grantee at the East West Center, University of Hawaii. He is fluent in spoken and written Japanese, and has long been interested in the fantastic aspect of traditional Japanese tales. Charles has been a shipwright in Japan and sailed its oceans. Other works include Seeing Japan; A Matter of Tea, short stories; and The Masacado Scrolls series of novels: The Fall of Awa, The Road to Kio, The Shadow Shield, and The Horse Soldiers. Under the pen name of Chuck Tyrell, he has published the Western novels of Vulture Gold, Revenge at Wolf Mountain, Trail of a Hard Man, and more.            

SACRED AND RITUAL  - Eugene Tarshis

Eugene Tarshis left Chicago for Japan in 1988 to experience genuine Zen practice and has been a resident since then. He immersed himself in Buddhist studies and meditation at Kyoto’s Myoshinji and Daitokuji temples as well as on Awaji Island, where he did weekend chores and zazen in a family temple, moonlighting as bartender and blues singer at an international jazz bar. Eugene has had training in Dewa Sanzan shugendo as well as conversations with head priests atop Mt. Omine and in Kumano Kodo. He was a founder of Another Chicago Magazine and editor-in-chief of Kansai Scene, and, from 2008 to 2019,  editor of ANA’s Wingspan magazine. His nonfiction writing on Japanese art, ritual, culture, and travel have appeared in Kyoto Journal and other publications in Japan, and in Pacific Rim Review of Books (Vancouver). His poems have been published in a variety of literary journals, and he has translated, with the author, selected works of Austrian poet Judith Nika Pfeifer.                               

AESTHETIC  - Azby Brown

Azby Brown, architect, author, artist, and design theorist, studied architecture and sculpture at Yale University, graduating in 1980, and received a master’s degree from the Department of Architecture of the University of Tokyo in1988. He taught architecture and media design at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology from 1995 to 2017, and founded the Future Design Institute in Tokyo. Currently he is on the sculpture faculty at Musashino Art University, and at theGraduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability at Kyoto University. Azby connects the cultural, creative, and economic dots that illustrate the rich potential of sustainable design. He speaks and writes from being grounded as well in hands-on work in the carpentry of Japanese Buddhist temples and Edo-period carpentry, all informing such books asJust Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan,The Genius ofJapanese Carpentry,Small Spaces,The Japanese Dream House, andThe Very Small Home.Azby frequently gives talks in Japan, including as TED X Tokyo speaker, and abroad about the concepts he has constructed, and his creative work is widely exhibited in Japan and overseas.