Ikei village is located around 50 km from Naha Airport,
or 1 hour and 30 minutes by car, on Ikei-jima island in the city of Uruma.

Here there is a photo studio run out of a house.

Uruma native Hiromitsu Arakaki repurposed an 80-year-old traditional Japanese-style home for the studio.

Arakaki attended university in Kagoshima.

He lived for 12 years outside of the prefecture doing R&D work at an automobile manufacturer and elsewhere.

Photo:Hiromitsu Arakaki

Then, three years ago, he decided to take a U-turn.

He heard that a friend would be participating in an annual art event on Ikei-jima island,
and he began commuting to the island for two months to support that friend.

The event required him to travel back and forth by car along the Mid-Sea Road in his hometown,
and he found himself enchanted once again by the scenery along this stretch of road.
He began to think that he would like to have a job advertising for Uruma.

Photo:Hiromitsu Arakaki

So he poured himself into independent study of his hobby of camera photography,
transforming into a cameraman in order to communicate the appeal of Uruma through photographs.

He invited customers to the island to have them learn more about it,
opening his studio there and even moving his home.

Photo:Hiromitsu Arakaki

Photo:Hiromitsu Arakaki

Today, he works primarily on “photo weddings” set in Uruma’s islands, Katsuren Castle,
the Mid-Sea Road, and elsewhere. One of the most popular of these is the “Starry Night Sky Wedding.”

“There is a lot that you can see precisely because we’re in the countryside.
There aren’t a lot of lights in the area,
and so the beauty of the starry night sky is one of the real pleasures of the countryside.”

He then showed us a photo so beautiful it sticks vividly in the memory.

Photo:Hiromitsu Arakaki

Photo:Hiromitsu Arakaki

Photo:Hiromitsu Arakaki

Arakaki says that after he returned to Uruma, he really felt “a connection with the people.”

“Everyone around here is very cooperative
and you know they are working for your benefit. So of course,
you also put yourself in motion.

This accumulates to strengthen these connections,
and you really get a sense of their importance,” he says with deep feeling.

As for the future, Arakaki is considering photography plans
that expand beyond mere photographs to include a varied range of Uruma beauty.

Chiisa-na-shima Photo Studio: from hometown sentiment
and the connections between people.



Chiisa-na-shima Photo Studio: from hometown sentiment and the connections between people.

Chiisa-na-shima Photo Studio

Address/73 Yonashiroikei, Uruma-shi, Okinawa, Japan


Chiisa-na-shima Photo Studio Facebook

Published November 2, 2017