1 / TOKϴYO
The title of my photographic series TOKϴYO was inspired by tokoyo (常世 eternity), an imaginary world with deep roots in ancient Japanese concepts. It’s an immortal universe, where the goddess of grains, fertility and ancestors coexist. It is also a place where the sun regenerates. It also reminds us our capital Tokyo, where a large number of people live in, they had profited from the electricity which had been generated at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Yet the celestial landscape of Fukushima was pure pleasure to my eyes. Having been away for 7 years, everything seemed so new and fresh. I travelled around the prefecture like a tourist and took photos as I walked. The exploration led me to small neighbouring villages, faced with an aging population and low birth rate, not to mention its declining craftsmanship. Like Man Ray’s assistant Berenice Abbott, who also relocated from Paris to her hometown in New York, I was absolutely fascinated with Fukushima’s everyday landscape.
A year after, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. My house collapsed like a crushed tin can. Then the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant exploded. It happened only 50 km away from my home. Despite the devastation the coastal area suffered, the mountainside maintained its beauty. Sakura trees and flowing streams seemed untouched, as if nothing had happened. It was like standing in the middle of a world with no boundaries between life and death. I felt confused by the overwhelming and surreal presence of my baby.