Sheung Wan is a neighborhood where deep-rooted history lingers in almost every street corner like a ghost. Immersed in the flow of time, this district still quietly exudes a nostalgic charm. One can easily feel it when walking on streets like Tai Ping Shan Street, Hollywood Road, or the Dried Seafood Street (Wing Lok Street).
This exhibition is located in an old, elevator-less tenement building in Sheung Wan. The tiny space is filled with silent curses, creating an unsettling atmosphere that seems to be urging for an immediate reflection of history. The curse was cast upon the authority in power which was ready to sacrifice other people’s lives only for the sake of its very own interests. The exhibition The genuine curse: How to kill an enterprise owner collects rare documentation of members from the legendary protest monks group JKS47, or Jusatsu Kitōkai Sōdan 47, which literally means Curse Death Prayer Meeting Monk Order 47. Accompanied by photo works made by photographer Mitsutoshi Hanaga, one can take a glimpse of the background of this anti-establishment monk group that was most active in Japan in the 70s.
In the 60s, numerous village communities were adversely affected by Itai-itai disease (bones and kidney failure caused by cadmium poisoning) and Yokkaichi asthma. Upon investigation, the widespread diseases were attributed to pollutants arbitrarily discharged by factories. However, politicians and corporate leaders had been covering it up to serve their own interests. That was the background of how the Buddhist monk group and its followers came together and founded JKS47. They gathered at factories and construction sites operated by the controversial corporates all over the country, using of rallies, percussions, reading of Buddhist sutras and prayers to protest to these corporate leaders, like casting a spell.