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Yasuda is a photojournalist at Studio AFTERMODE who covers disadvantaged and disaster areas in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and in Japan. She has continued to record the situation in the disaster areas, focused on Rikuzentakata ever since the Great East Japan Earthquake.
It was a spring day five years after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The town of Iwate, which I had continued to visit, was finally beginning to show signs of recovery when fury struck the residents again. The earthquake that shook the ground in Kumamoto continued to cast a shadow on people’s lives even after several months.
I gradually drew on the lessons I learned in Tohoku while snapping photos. I not only captured images of nature while visiting Iwate, but the specter of dread people lived with day to day. What did they feel as they faced the daily changing expressions of the ocean, the mountains, and the sky?
In between the overwhelming power of nature and the actions of people, there is prayer -- prayer in the form of a festival passed on for generations. To mourn those who have passed, to speak of proof that one’s predecessors lived, and to thank nature’s bounty for letting you live. Sometimes singing a song, sometimes closing one’s eyes in quiet contemplation, people have come to share the same space with nature. Although the shape of the land in Kumamoto is different, the rituals have roots that transcend time.
As if quietly stretching out my hand to those noble acts, I snapped photo after photo. How should we choose to live in one disaster after another? I look for clues in the moments that I capture.
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