The Heartwarming Relationship Between A Man And His 1,200 Pigs

05/05/2014 08:36 am ET | Updated May 06, 2014

Japanese photographer Toshiteru Yamaji has spent a decade snapping portraits of a rather unassuming farmer named Otchan. At first glance, the Kagawa-based man seems like a strange choice for a ten-year-long photo project, but Yamaji's series, "Pigs and Papa," dispels this misconception rather immediately.

You see, Otchan lives with 1,200 pigs, many of whom function as companions, pets and beloved napping partners. In contrast to the factory farms of the United States, Otchan's farm is a bastion of TLC, where a genuine passion for the four-legged creatures amounts to portraits like the one below:


Yamaji's collection of photographs reveal the beautiful bonds of love forged between a man and swine. "While farming process tends to become completely automatic in the course of mass-production and consumption," Foil Tokyo writes of Otchan's farm, "this family does [it] all by hand, poring their love on each pig."

Yamaji, a former Kagawa city worker in agriculture, forestry and fishery, began photographing Otchan in 1997. In 2009, he self-published his series of photos in a book that earned the Japan Self-Publishing Award, prompting FOIL to republish the works as the beautiful compilation "Pigs and Papa." Capturing intimate moments between Otchan and his pigs from sunup to sundown, the photographs give a glimpse into a truly poignant relationship that seems born out of another time and universe.


©Toshiteru Yamaji


©Toshiteru Yamaji


©Toshiteru Yamaji


©Toshiteru Yamaji


©Toshiteru Yamaji


©Toshiteru Yamaji


©Toshiteru Yamaji


©Toshiteru Yamaji


Toshiteru Yamaji, Pigs and Papa, FOIL, 2010

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