“与海相伴的人们身上充满着喜悦与悲伤⋯⋯我将自己沉浸在他们的世界里”－岩濑祯之（Iwase Yoshiyuki) 。
“They carried the joys and sorrows of those living with the sea…” …I immersed myself in their world. – Iwase Yoshiyuki. He was born in 1904 in Onjuku, a fishing village on Pacific side of the Chiba peninsula, which encloses Tokyo Bay on the east. After graduating from Meiji University Law School in 1924, he took up his lifelong pursuits, heading the family sake distillery and documenting the receding traditions of costal Japan. In the late 1920s, young Yoshiyuki received an early Kodak camera as a gift. Since the main livelihood of the town came from the sea, he gravitated there, and soon found a passion for “the simple, even primitive beauty” of ama – girls and women who harvested seaweed, turban shells and abalone from beneath the coastal waters.
Water temperatures on the Onjuku coast are bearable only between June and September. Large harvests were impossible to haul up in strong currents, so tides had to be favorable, limiting diving days to about 20 per year. Ama dove in three sessions a day, requiring extensive eating and warming at the fireside between runs. A good daily harvest required 60 to 80 dives of up to two minutes each, so ama had to develop and maintain substantial body fat to guard against hypothermia. With such rigors and risks, ama were paid enormous salaries, ofter making more in the short season than the village men made the whole yeah. In the late 1920s, there were around 200 ama active in Onjuku and the seven harbors of the region (Kohaduki, Ohaduki, Futamata, Konado, Tajiri, Koura and Nagahama). By the late 1960s, they had disappeared. This body of work stands as the final, most comprehensive visual document of the life and work of these divers. He became a pioneer of the Japanese modernist nude and documented traditional culture in postwar japan.