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THREE YEARS AFTER: Tohoku women express inner feelings at 3/11 photo exhibition, asahi, 3/14/14

Women who survived the 2011 disaster in the Tohoku region are holding a photo exhibition in Tokyo that has enabled them to pour out their emotions.

Titled “Women tell of the Great East Japan Earthquake through photos and voices,” the exhibition features 43 pictures by 32 women taken from immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011, to February this year.

The exhibition is being held at MC FOREST in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district and runs through March 16.

Each photo is accompanied with a caption expressing the photographers’ thoughts and experiences.

“Many women could not reveal their inner feelings because of their family care and their responsibility in the community,” said Tomoko Yunomae, an organizing group member. “They breathed out their thoughts, shared their anger and shed tears.”

The photographers include those who live in provisional housing in the hardest-hit prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures and others who were evacuated due to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The photos include streets left idle during reconstruction work, provisional housing, the ocean, and fields exposed to radioactive fallout.

The photographers met eight to 10 times to discuss the captions.

One of the photographers, who lives on the coast of Iwate Prefecture, has kept watch over provisional housing residents.

The woman, in her 60s, took a photo of potted flowers crowding the entrance of a provisional housing complex in September 2012.

The caption quotes the words of a resident: “I purchase flowers every time I shed tears.”

Dairy farmer records changes to his Fukushima village, asahi, 1/1/2014

DATE, Fukushima Prefecture–Kenichi Hasegawa’s home videos and photos do not contain the usual fare. They show cows heading for slaughter, villagers bidding farewell, and men in protective suits roaming the village.

Hasegawa said he bought a single-lens reflex camera and a camcorder immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the accident at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

“I have to keep records for the sake of posterity,” said Hasegawa, a 60-year-old dairy farmer.

His home village of Iitate in this northeastern prefecture was once filled with edible wild plants in spring, mushrooms in autumn and wild boar hunts in winter.

But that peaceful life in the mountains came to an abrupt end when the nuclear accident spewed radioactive substances over the village.

Eight members of four generations in Hasegawa’s family once lived together. They are now separated in four households.

Hasegawa lives with his wife in temporary housing in Date, Fukushima Prefecture.

Driven by the will to persevere, Hasegawa has published two books and a photo collection, in addition to a 70-minute documentary film he released in autumn. He has been to various parts of Japan, Germany and South Korea to give about 200 speeches about the plight of the village.

His photos feature scenes of the departure of his 50 dairy cows, some for a slaughterhouse and others for new owners; his empty cow barn; villagers evacuating Iitate; dilapidated farmland; and the radioactive cleanup work that continues to devour huge expenses.

Hasegawa plans to soon publish his second collection of photos, which will document changes in the village and the travails of villagers following the nuclear accident.

Nearly three years after the nuclear disaster started, an increasing number of Iitate villagers are yearning for land to live on and houses to live in. Hasegawa has acute concerns about the policy line of the village government, which sets return as a foregone conclusion.

The farmer says he believes Iitate’s villagers will fall apart unless a temporary, replacement village is built soon.

“I don’t want others to experience what we have undergone,” Hasegawa said in his characteristic, hoarse voice. “It’s enough that we have had to go through it.”

He said his foremost desire was to be able to live with all his family members under a single roof.

3.11 disaster survivors search for family photos at Sendai display, mainichi, 8/17/2013

SENDAI — Survivors of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami are searching a display here of photos found in the disaster’s aftermath, looking for precious family snapshots.

Around 200,000 photographs collected from the coastal areas of the city’s Miyagino and Wakabayashi wards are on display at the Miyagino Ward Chuo citizens’ center. It is the third time the two wards have worked together to put the collected photographs on display for survivors to search. There were originally around 300,000 photographs, which were cleaned by members of the volunteer group Omoide Kaeru (Returning memories), and around 100,000 have thus far been returned to their owners.

Tomiko Ono, 70, whose home in Miyagino Ward was hit by tsunami, found pictures of her grandchild and of herself when she was younger.

“I’m partly happy, but I’m also sad that nothing else remains,” she said.

The display will continue through Aug. 25, excluding the 19th, with pictures returned to their owners from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

a few more photos from funakoshi

IDRO has been working in a number of small fishing villages, and for part of july and the month of august, they have an established a volunteer base in the funakoshi elementary school, which had water up to the 2nd floor. the 3rd floors was safe, and the chalkboards in the class rooms still have the date of march 11.

april 2011 taro-photos


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