Images of suffering, resilience and compassion in post 3/11 Japan

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Abstract

In this essay I explore the visual representation of suffering, resilience and compassion as expressed in a Tokyo-based photography exhibition in April 2011. An analysis of the photographs provides an opportunity to re-examine the meaning of disaster and victimhood, and to re-examine a society that responds to tragedy. Of particular note are intertextual references between the 2011 exhibition and other iconic images, some of which represent other historical moments of suffering in Japan, such as the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Minamata poisoning incident. Others reference ideas about family and community. The Tokyo exhibition sheds light on how a society expresses collective feelings of grief, fear and distrust after a major disaster, and how the socio-economic and political context of a contemporary disaster can be interrogated through reflection on the past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 8
Number of pages8
JournalJapan Focus: an Asia Pacific e-journal
Volume13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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