Keiko Sasaoka “Difference 3.11”

Keiko Sasaoka solo exhibition “Difference 3.11”
the exhibition series of “Remebrance 3.11”
Mar 7 – 13, 2012
Ginza Nikon Salon, Tokyo

笹岡啓子個展「Difference 3.11」
ニコンサロン連続企画展「Remembrance 3.11」

Difference 3.11





*笹岡啓子「ステートメント Difference 3.11」、『Remembrance 3.11』株式会社ニコン ニコンサロン事務局、2013年、pp.17-28

It was one month after the earthquake in March 2011, I went to the disaster area for the first time. On a hill in Kamaishi city, I stared down at the town spread below my eyes as I remained unable to even reach for my camera. At there I heard from a local person, “Neighboring Otsuchi town is much worse. It’s like the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima dropped on it.” For me being from Hiroshima, I was surprised to hear that expression and I headed to Otsuchi town.

Indeed, the impression I received through the car window was quite similar to the pictures I had seen of Hiroshima right after it was bombed. I walked alone from the prefectural road to the seaside, where the JR Otsuchi Station used to be. Spread on one side was dark reddish-brown rubble and a few white restorative roads intersecting each other. From the Otsuchi bridge which passes through to Kirikiri town, no obstructions remained and only the mountain range that surrounds town could be seen with clarity.

The cold sea breeze blows and it is chilly. Because of the dust clouds I am unable to keep my eyes open. The burnt smell and smell of decayed fish sting my nose. A bent sheet of iron makes noise as it rolls by. Remnants of a building where the framework was exposed are hanging and swinging. Looking closely, there is a figure of a person searching for missing people among the wreckage. The sight I saw at Otsuchi town was different from the pictures and video footage I repeatedly saw on TV and the internet since March 11th. Pictures I have taken up until today, they have never reflected what I actually saw. Of course, that is not my desire either. During my walk, many images came to my mind and disappeared. Here, is where I took my first picture.

After photographing Otsuchi town, I slowly traveled south along the Sanriku coast where traces of the tsunami were still raw. Furthermore, I expanded my shooting area to the Abukuma mountains that was hit by the invisible nuclear disaster. The words I heard on the hill in Kamaishi city that day still resonates in my body.

*Keiko Sasaoka, Statement: Difference 3.11, Remembrance 3.11, Exhibition Catalogue, Nikon Salon, 2013, pp.17-28.