Photo Exhibition

COMMEMORATION OF THE 2011 GREAT EAST JAPAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI

絆 Kizuna 6: Resilience is a series of events to remember the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan’s Tohoku region on March 11, 2011. Presented by the Osaka Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, the Japan America Society of Chicago, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Chicago Office, and Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago, the 絆 Kizuna 6 consists of a commemoration ceremony, a photo exhibition and an economic seminar to show continued support from the people of Chicago to the people of Tohoku. The word “kizuna” means “bond of friendship” in Japanese. The 絆 Kizuna 6: Resilience Photo Exhibition was curated by Alan Labb, Associate Professor, Photography Department, and Associate Provost of Educational Technology and Innovation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The selection was made from the past Kizuna exhibition archive as well as current photos taken by the Tohoku-based photographer Kiyotaka Shishido. This year’s exhibition includes a few images of Kumamoto Prefecture that was struck by a large-scale earthquake in 2016. The Kizuna exhibitions have been contributed by many photographers including Shishido and the leading Japanese business newspaper Nikkei’s Photo Department archive “Memory: Things We Should Never Forget.”

By The 絆 Kizuna 6 Committee

STATEMENT FROM THE CURATOR

For the 6th annual Kizuna remembrance exhibition, I searched through past Chicago Kizuna archives and was awestruck by the excellent quality of photographs produced over the past six years. Photography functions on many levels, and all the previous Kizuna exhibitions have done an exemplary job of both chronicling a timeline of events, and documenting the lives and places that were changed forever by the tragic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011.
For this year’s selection, however, I abandoned the traditional constraints of chronological ordering and keeping to a singular theme, and instead sought out photographic compositions that illustrate what photography does best: telling a story within a discrete frame without needing additional information from adjacent content. The result is a group of images that are complementary and synergistic but not dependent on the photographs they are placed next to on the wall.

I also looked for images that best illustrate resilience, by being both indexical and allegorical. These photographs reveal the difficulties facing the community, while exemplifying the inner strength of the individuals depicted and the strength of the collective Japanese spirit that is capable of overcoming the worst of obstacles and participating once again in the fragility of life.

七転び八起き
Fall down seven times, get up eight — Japanese proverb

By Alan Labb
Associate Professor, Photography Department, and Associate Provost of Educational Technology and Innovation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago


1. Airi Katsuta, Ishinomaki city, Miyagi - Many towns sent their condolences and celebrated the lost lives of their loved ones. Kizuna Archive 2013
2. Kiyotaka Shishido, Minamisōuma city, Fukushima
3. Kiyotaka Shishido, Ōkuma town, Fukushima - At Ōkuma elementary school, located in the “difficult-to-return zone

4. Hiroki Kashiwabara/Nikkei Photo, Koriyama city, Fukushima, January 21, 2012 Kids playing at an indoor playground avoiding the dangers of low level radiation. Kizuna Archive 2013
5. Kiyotaka Shishido, Wakabayashi ward, Sendai city, Miyagi - On Mar. 11 2016, 5 years after the disaster, people gather at the seashore in Sendai city. Some pray for the dead, some just stare at the sea. Kizuna Archive 2017
6. Kiyotaka Shishido, Mashikimachi town, Kumamoto.The historical 300-year old Kiyama Shrine completely destroyed by the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes. The 7.0 magnitude quake hit the shrine twice. Kizuna Archive 2017

7. Kiyotaka Shishido, Mashikimachi town, Kumamoto.The historical 300-year old Kiyama Shrine completely destroyed by the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes. The 7.0 magnitude quake hit the shrine twice. Kizuna Archive 2017
8. Kiyotaka Shishido. Namikiba Farm, Iwaki city, Fukushima - Sayuri Miki (left), one of the participants in the Kizuna 5: Voices of the Youth project. Kizuna Archive, 2016
9. Nikkei Photo, 2013. Junior high school students from the Kakehashi Project (“the Bridge for Tomorrow”), a youth exchange program with North America.  Kizuna archive 2014

10. Takashi Kamima/Nikkei Photo, Fukushima Debris from the tsunami has clogged many of the roads, turning train tracks into a main thoroughfare. This image was taken a day after the earthquake and tsunami. Kizuna Archive 2012
11. Kiyotaka Shishido. Kesennuma city, Miyagi, November 8, 2014 - Children playing on newly installed playground equipped for a disaster drill. Kizuna Archive 2015
12. Kiyotaka Shishido, Iwaki city, Fukushima. - A woman looking at the ocean on March 11, 2014, the 3 year anniversary of the disaster. Kizuna Archive 2015

13. Nikkei Photo, Chicago, Illinois. - A student from the Kakehashi Project, from Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University in Sendai city, Miyagi, one of the areas worst affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Kizuna Archive 2013
14. Kiyotaka Shishido, Higashimatsushima city, Miyagi, May 4, 2014 - 626 donated Koinobori carp shaped banners, flown in the sky to commemorate young victims for Children’s Day. Kizuna Archive 2015
 15. Kiyotaka Shishido, Shishiori town, Kesennuma city, Miyagi. - Yuuya Komatsu, one of the video messengers for Kizuna 5: Voices of the Youth project, standing in front of a street sign indicating a Tsunami evacuation route. Kizuna Archive, 2016

16. Kiyotaka Shishido, Shishiori town, Kesennuma city, Miyagi. Portrait of Aki Ogata , one of the video messengers for Kizuna 5: Voices of the Youth project. Kizuna Archive 2016
17. Kiyotaka Shishido. Sendai, Miyagi. October 11, 2014 - Dancers of the Michinoku Yosakoi Festival. Kizuna Archive 2015
18. Kiyotaka Shishido, Kessennuma city, Miyagi, November 30, 2014 - Despite the recovery effort, some parts of the Ofunato line are still broken. Kizuna Archive, 2015

19. Photographer unknown, Leanin’ Tree Museum & Sculpture Garden of Western Art, Colorado. A high school student from the Kakehashi Project during their exchange trip to the U.S. Kizuna Archive 2014
20. Jamason Chen, Iwaki city, Fukushima, October 25, 2014 - This lifeguard tower survived the tsunami wave, cheered by local children’s mural painting. Kizuna Archive 2015
21.Kiyotaka Shishido. Sendai city, Miyagi. June 13, 2014 - Despite the disaster, the power of nature carries on with things as usual. Kizuna Archive 2015

22. Kousaku Mimura/Nikkei Photo, Kesennuma city, Miyagi, October 8, 2013 - Cosmos blooming beside a demolished fishing vessel Kyotokumaru No.18, illuminated with street lights from the empty street. Kizuna Archive 2014
	23. Hirofumi Yamamoto/Nikkei Photo, Namie Elementary School, Namie town, Fukushima, March 30, 2013 - Namie town is in the restricted area after the nuclear accident, school bags were left in the classroom for two years after evacuation. Kizuna Archive 2014
	24. Hiroki Kashiwabara/Nikkei Photo, Natori city, Miyagi, April 27, 2013 - First Mother’s Day carnation harvesting in Shunetsu Sugai’s rebuilt flower nursery.  Kizuna Archive 2014

25. Ken Kobayashi/Nikkei Photo. Rikuzentakata city, Iwate, July 26, 2013. 
Noboru Suzuki (81) at his temporary housing, an annual calligraphy gift from his grandchildren marks the years he has been living in this space. 
Kizuna Archive, 2014
26. Ken Kobayashi/Nikkei Photo, Minamisoma city, Fukushima, September 6, 2013. - The city’s four elementary school buildings were destroyed and now hold classes together in this temporary school building. Minamisoma city is within restricted area after the nuclear disaster. Kizuna Archive 2014