A Period of 11 years spent photographing the world's most famous waterfalls. An unprecedented feat.

  • vol.1
    Japanese ed.vol1

  • vol.2
    Japanese ed.vol2

  • vol.3
    Japanese ed.vol3

About this book

Production period
The World's 100 Great Waterfalls, Volume 1 Africa and Oceania
Japanese ed. (2007) Shogakukan Inc (price 38,000 JPY)
The World's 100 Great Waterfalls Volume 2
North America and South America

Japanese ed. (2007) Shogakukan Inc (price 38,000 JPY)
The World's 100 Great Waterfalls Volume 3 Europe and Asia
Japanese ed. (2007) Shogakukan Inc (price 38,000 JPY)

Similar to the process of selecting the world's 100 great mountains, a committee of eight world famous waterfall researchers was established: three researchers from the USA, two from Iceland, and one each from the Netherlands, Germany, and Peru.

From a list of 25,000 great waterfalls chosen by Mr. Dean Goss of the USA, 154 waterfalls across 31 countries were selected. Mr. Shirakawa took pictures of all the waterfalls and finally narrowed this down to just 100. As with the Great Mountains project, there was nobody else who actually saw more than 50 of the selected waterfalls except Mr. Shirakawa, He was also the only one who saw all the waterfalls from not only the ground but also from the sky by helicopter. So, the selection committee entrusted Mr. Shirakawa with the final decision of choosing the best 100 waterfalls.

The World's 100 Great Waterfalls compilation is an historic and unprecedented achievement.



  • photo01
    Victoria Falls

  • photo02
    Cataratas Del Iguazu

  • photo03
    Niagara Falls

  • photo04
    Yosemite Falls

  • photo05


Purposes of Photo graphing of the World's Hundred Greatest Waterfalls

"The World's Hundred Greatest Waterfalls" is the 10th work in my series: "For Recovery of Humanity Through Rediscovery of the Earth". It follows "the Alps" , "Himalayas" , "Eternal America" , "Land of the Bible" , "Mainland China" , "The Realm of the Gods" , "The Way of Buddhism" , "Antarctica" , and "The World's Hundred Greatest Mountains". The title of this series has various meanings for me.It is an attempt to rediscover,to reaffirm that this Earth upon which we all live is an irreplaceable and miraculous planet. From a cosmic point of view, it may be merely the smallest speck, a tiny poppy seed of a planet in an eternal and infinite universe expanding over billons of light years. And yet in all this inconceivable vastness, there is no other place where we can survive. This beautiful starship Earth is our only home and on it we live in a community of mutual destiny. Recognation of this inherent interconnectedness is the first meaning of "rediscovery" for me. With that awareness, all the border skirmishes, ethnic conflicts, and full-scale wars seem to be so very pointless and self-destructive. Though this new work I hope to share these inspirational impressions of the grandeur in nature and also to inspire us to unite and combine our efforts for the sake of our global community.

In October 2000, it was widely reported that the virtuotuso physicist Steven Hawking had predicted that if destruction of the environment continued at its present pace, in 1000 years humanity would become extinct. It is imperative that we awaken to the dangers of planetary neglect and abuse.Never before in our history has there been such a need for are turn to the refuge of rational knowledge and conscientious behavior.

Secondly, It is my personal philosophy that nature is a subject not only for geology, ecology and other sciences, but should also be studied and appreciated from the historical and cultural perspective of indigenous peoples. A beautiful landscape is much more than just esthetically pleasing scenery. The psyche of a people is shaped by their land; deep and inseparable ties connect them to it. The yearning of the refugee, the sadness of the homesick, the joy of the returning voyager are all expressions of this bond that everyone shares with the place they call "home"...their motherland.

Three million years ago our first hominid ancestors appeared and I believe they were profoundly moved by the majestic drama of nature: the constant sun, the changing moon, the myriad stars, clouds, fire, fog, thunder....all this evoked a sense of marvel which led to a reverence for the presence of a great spirit in the universe.

Albert Einstein once said he believed that awestruck emotions based on an insight regarding the order and unity of the universe was the main factor in the emergence of mankind out of the apes. I imagine that he must have been astounded, upon discovering the principle of relatively, to find that the universe is a single order with not a single flaw and is perfectly unified. It is certainly my philosophy that this primeval capacity for awe and wonder provided the foundation for a great spiritual revolution that transformed our species.

No one can deny that today the world has become a frightening place where the technology humans have created is edging ever closer to controlling us. Nuclear weapons, bioteclmology, and environmental problems all confront us with horrific dilemmas in at we cannot afford to ignore.

It is the reason that I have devoted the last 40 years of my life to photographing what I call "immaculate scenery"....a phrase I created in reference to a landscape so inbued with vibrancy, serenity and spirituality that It is impossible to look upon it and not be filled with a sense of the sacred and the divine.

Although I understand that photographs are imperfect expressions of this transcendental quality, nevertheless they are the best vehicle I have to appeal for a reawakening to the importance of our religious connection and responsibility to our beloved planet.

The third impetus behind this publication comes from the fact that every year 4 million people die as a result of water shortages. Energy experts worry about oil reserves and countries fight over them but alithough oil is certain to be exhausted within the next several decades, water will disappear first. It is estimated that by 2025 the world's population will be over 8 billion and that wars over water will erupt all over the globe. The World is already plagued by territorial and ethinic wars, and it is hard to imagine what will happen if wars over water are added. In my photographic journeys I have visited 143 countries and have seen first hand the ruin and horror of war, mankind's most horrible invention. I myself entered National School in 1941, On the eve of the breakout of the Pacific War and during the war my family was driven to the verge of starvation, as we were not farmers. I still remember that sad and pitiful world as if it were only yesterday. Earth in said to be a water planet and yet at the present time we are able to utilize only 0.02% of the water on its surface. Water is the most essential need of human beings and it is terrible to think that we may be pitch-forked into the hell of fighting over it. In recognition of this problem the United Nations has declared March 22, 2005 through March22, 2015 to be the "International Decade for Action:Water for life". It is with these sincere motivations that I present "The World's Houndred Greatest Waterfalls" with the hope of contributing to the awereness of this impending dilemma.



Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Water is one of the essential elements in the survival of all life on Earth.It can be captured in bottles and taps,but,as these wonderful pictures show,it can be as dramatic as the great mountains and forests.The oceans and coastal waters display its awesome power;waterfalls show that it can also create works of sheer art.

Shirakawa Yoshikazu has already published a number of volumes of his spectacular photographs.The images in this,his latest three-volume work,The World's Hundred Greatest Waterfalls,are no less brilliant.As it is not given to many to see these natural wonders at first hand,I am sure that they will give much pleasure,and encourage those lucky enough to acquire copies of these volumes,to more fully appreciate what a truly remarkable planet it is on which we live. I hope they will also help to emphasise the urgent need to ensure that these magic places get the respect and protection which they deserve.

March 7, 2007

H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921 -) Prince Philip is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, President Emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund and has been active worldwide as a leader in environmental protection.

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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.