This was the first time in history the Antarctic had been circled. The total flying range that was required to take the photos was approximately 120,000km.

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About this book

Production period
The Antarctic Continent Volume 1 Nature of Transcendence
Japanese ed. (1994) Shogakukan Inc (price 38,000JPY)
The Antarctic Continent Volume 2 Eternal Space Time
Japanese ed. (1994) Shogakukan Inc (price 38,000JPY)
Italian ed. (1995) Antaride Fenice 2000 company

A Four people - Mr Shirakawa, two assistants and a cameraman, Mr Yashiro from NHK - were successful in travelling around the Antarctic continent for the first time in history. For 330 days, photographs were taken across most of the South Pole; this had never been done before. During the time travelling around the South Pole, invaluable support was received at 15 bases, representing seven countries (Chile, Argentina, Germany, Australia, Russia, Italy and France). Of particular note, at the German and Australian bases, food and fuel were provided for free. Mr Shirakawa says he will never forget this kindness. Shooting expenses were 650 million Yen for two seasons across three years.



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    Dawn at Calvajal

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    White Island--darkness and light

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    A bird's-eye view of the king George Island ice field

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    Intermittent locus of the sun

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    The season for embarking on a journey

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    A sunlight trace at Marambio

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    An iceberg in the evening glow

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    The Byrd Glacier

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    24-hours at the South Pole

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    Sunset at midday



Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The business of coping with the problems of daily life and worrying about human poverty and human conflicts is bound to restrict our vision and perspective. An occasional news item about Antarctica may attract attention for a fleeting moment, but it is not enough to encourage us to look up and see the far horizons.Antarctica may be beyond the horizon for most of us, but its frozen landscape should remind us of the fragile nature of our only home in the universe. If humanity manages to change the structure and systems of the atmosphere around it, by even a small amount, the whole world could become like Antarctica, or it could turn into a burning desert.

Antarctica is the last great continent still to be largely free of human encroachment.Its harsh conditions have saved it from that fate, at least for the tlme being, but even this remote area is already suffering from the effects of the hole in the ozone layer above it. So it may be that Yoshikazu Shirakawa was just in time when he undertook his great project to capture images of this last wilderness. If the human species is to continue to live on this planet, it must learn to respect the natural systems that make any life possible. Respect comes from feeling of awe and wonder and of delight in the beauty of every part of what many believe to be a Divine Creation.

I hope that these two volumes of magnificent pictures will help to stir that sense of awe and wonder and that they will inspire many people with a new respect for the nature of our planet.

WWF President:
H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh


Mr.Yoshikazu Shirakawa is a superb photographer. His book "Himalayas" is a prized possession of people all around the world.Now he has produced another magnificent book "The Continent of Antarctica".

Many people think of the Antarctic as being a barren continent, a montone of snow and ice but this is far from being the case.As Mr.Shirakawa shows, there is immense variety of colour-white snow,black rock,and every shade of blue and green imaginable.

The Coastline of Antarcticais superbly beautiful with hu9eicefloes, spectacular icecliffs and a multitude of wildlife-penguins, seals, birds and orcas(killer whales).

There are great mountains, too, with bare black faces and steep hard ice. Everywhere there are vast areas of crevasses.remember them all too well! in 1958 my expedition was the first to drive tractors across the polar plateau to the South Pole itself and for months we were under considerable tension fearing our vehicles would plunge into hidden crevasses Even the long dark Antarctic winter has its spectacular colour. On bright moonlight nights in bitterly cold temperatures the distant mountains and the flat ice shelf are bathed in silver. when the sun sinks for the last time in the fall and when it rises again the spring the sky is unbelievable and the mountains send long dark shadows across the frozen sea ice.

Mr.Shirakawa has captured it all-from aircraft, on the coastline, and from the tops of mountains.He displays the beauty of this, the last of the unspoiled continents. His book will encourage people from all over the world to admire and respect this mighty continent and hopefully protect it for all time from despoilation and despair.

Sir Enmund Hillary

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He was born in Ehime in 1935. After graduated Nihon University College of Art Photography, he worked as a producer of the literary department at Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. and is now a Freelance photographer.