Matagi

Shortlist 2021

Javier Corso

Javier Corso (1989) is photographer, founder and director at OAK STORIES (documentary agency) and National Geographic Explorer since 2018. His photographic work originates from the need to communicate about aspects of the human condition through local, smaller-scale stories. His agency works as a production company and creative advisor for companies and organizations such as National Geographic Partners (Spain) and United Nations. His work has been recognized, published and exhibited worldwide.
The Compromise
2021

Matagi

Matagi are traditional hunters who live in small villages in northern Honshu, the main island of Japan. Its primary prey is the Japanese black bear, a subspecies listed as vulnerable according to the IUCN. However, these communities never face hunting as a recreational or sporting activity. For the Matagi, Nature is a conscious presence, personified in the Goddess of the Mountain (Yama-no-Kami); a deity envious of other women and thus banned them from entering into her domains for over five centuries. Nevertheless, the need to preserve Matagi's cultural legacy has prevailed over their religious convictions. Due to the lack of interest by young men in this lifestyle, the first cases of Matagi women accepted and instructed as hunters have recently emerged. Women who, as happens worldwide and in all social strata, claim equality in all fields.