“Hikari” is a Japanese word which means “the light”.
This work represents my compulsion to build and shape my own memory. To reconstitute some facts I didn’t experience myself, but which unconsciously influenced me while growing up.
I was born on the 2nd of July, 1982 in Kobe, of a Japanese mother and a Swiss father. When I was six months old, my parents decided to come and live in Switzerland, more precisely in Vionnaz, a little village in lower Valais. My father had to travel a lot for work, so I was mainly brought up by my mother, who taught me her principles and her culture.
When I was 18, I asked for dual nationality at the Japanese embassy. They refused. They said Japanese nationality is only given to Japanese women who wish to obtain their husband’s nationality.
I combined this feeling of rejection with my desire to prove that I am as Japanese as I am Swiss to create this work.
My grandparents witnessed the war; they were survivors who finally passed away and whose memories will soon be a part of history.
We only spoke about their experiences during the war once. They told me how illness took away their sisters; the shame; the relief after the war; and the watermelons.
After that single night, we never talked about it again. It was as if my grandparents gave me their memories as a whisper, through the air, before allowing it to disappear from their minds forever.
Somehow, I would say that I borrowed their memories. I use their stories as a source of inspiration for my own testimony.
Editor’s Note: See more work from the winners of the 2013 LensCulture Exposure Awards.