Discover Survivors of the Atom Bombs and Their Lives Through Photos and Text
The “Hiroshima, Faces” project records the lives and words of atomic bomb survivors together with their portraits. At the time of May 2022, the project has interviewed five people and compiled their stories into five booklets. From May 9 to 11, a “Hiroshima, Faces” photography exhibition was held at gallery G in Kamihatchobori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City. We interviewed Ms. Watanabe Tomoko, President of ANT-Hiroshima, the NGO promoting this project, and the people involved in its production.
ANT-Hiroshima President Watanabe
The project began in 2018. Until then, ANT-Hiroshima had been documenting atomic bomb survivors through video and audio, but they decided to preserve not only their experience of the attack, but the lives of each individual through photograph and text.
”There is a limit to how much I can help more youths, more people, meet the victims of the bombing and convey their message. The ideas and assistance of the people here helped to further expand the circle of support, and the result was these booklets,” says Watanabe. She says that meeting photographer Ishiko Mari, who took the photos for the booklets, was the catalyst for this project.
The photographer, Ishiko
”Before starting this project, I had personally photographed Tsuboi Sunao, who is an atomic bomb survivor as well. I was very influenced by him, and I began to think more about what exactly I could do through photography,” says Ishiko.
Through her talks with Ms. Watanabe, they came to the conclusion that booklets that many could reach many people would be ideal.
”Mr. Tsuboi and the other survivors are all very loving and kind toward me. When we went to listen about their painful and difficult past experiences, they were concerned for us and gave us words of encouragement. I began to think that expressing the richness, tenderness, and warmth that they showed us through photographs was something I could do.”
Ishikawa’s photographs of the survivors featured in the booklet have a dignified air, yet remain somehow warm and soft.
The first booklet features Emiko Okada
Goto, who was in charge of the text
The text that accompanies Ishikawa’s photographs was written by writer Goto Mika.
”This project has completely changed my outlook on life. I realized that I had created a special, invisible framework within myself, where I was placing the atomic bomb survivors.”
Meeting and hearing directly from them, and working a lot with them has changed the way Ms. Goto felt about them.
”These are people who experienced the atomic bombing in their lifetime. This is a different experience that needs to be communicated well. But they are no in way different as people. We hope this booklet helps you can get a sense of the times that they have progressed through, and see them as individuals.”
Five individuals are currently being featured in the “Hiroshima, Faces Project” booklets. They plan to continue interviewing and photographing, and present the lives of even more such individuals. A photo exhibition is scheduled for September 24 through 27 at the Hiroshima Machizukuri Shimin Koryu Plaza in Fukuro-machi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City.
Hiroshima, Faces Project
*Contact ANT-Hiroshima for details on the booklets or events
Address: Aki Legal Building 5F, 8-14 Kamihatchobori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City
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