One day in the summer of 1963, Masahisa Fukase, thirty years old at the time, visited a slaughterhouse in Shibaura, near Tokyo Port, accompanied by a woman. Her name was Yoko, whom Fukase met through an acquaintance who introduced her to him, saying, “Here is an interesting girl.” Having just moved to Tokyo from Kanazawa, Yoko, wearing a cloak, posed for Fukase in various ways as directed by the photographer, sitting beside strangely shaped metal tools that gleamed darkly with the blood and grease from killed animals. Since this occasion, Fukase became involved with photographing Yoko, which led to the publication of the book, Yoko (Asahi Sonorama: 1978). Still today, Yoko is regarded as an acclaimed work of Fukase who continued to focus through his lens on Yoko, as his model, as a woman, and as his wife.
These photographs shot in the slaughterhouse have been largely unknown since they have been published only partially. A dozen or so were published in the form of a chapter titled “To” [Slaughter] in his book, Yugi [Homo Ludence] (Chuo-Koronsha: 1971), and only several in Yoko. This book, Slaughter, thus represents a precious collection of photographs that enables us to see the entire series taken there in that particular session for the first time after half a century has passed. Slaughter exquisitely reproduces Fukase’s vintage prints following the advice of Yoko, who shared with us, on behalf of her deceased ex-husband Masahisa Fukase, her memories of the time the photographs were taken.