Almost Transparent Island
Project info

The story is about the illegal dumping scandal of industrial waste on a rural island located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan, called Teshima.

A huge volume of industrial waste, mainly automotive shredder residues, had been illegally dumped between 1975 and 1980s in Teshima. The beautiful beach was filled with garbage from unauthorized dumping, which was buried in the sand or piled up in heaps and burnt, causing black smoke to rise here and there. After a long legal battle, the issue was finally settled and the cleaning of the island started in 2000, and since then about 918,000 tons of industrial waste had been transferred to nearby Naoshima Island for intermediate processing. The transport was completed in March 2017, followed by the completion of intermediate processing in June 2017.

Based on this background, this project consists of two elements. One is landscape of the island I have taken after July 2017. The other is archival photographs the island residents have taken in 1980-2000s. The archival photographs are transparent into the current landscape.

I am a generation who does not know the incident directly. Teshima is now well known for “Island of Arts” as long as Naoshima. More and more tourists are coming from all over the world and Japan to enjoy a number of the art sites, food, and nature in the island. The Teshima incident is fading with time. Therefore, I am trying to indicate what has happened along with the economic growth, in this beautiful island of Japan.

I've been a Tokyo-based photographer who travels around rural areas in Japan, looking for the long-lasting beauty in the ordinary landscapes there. Through this journey, I've came to think that the most beuatiful scenery is the landscape with natrue touched by human, not untouched nature. After the 19th centry"s economic growth, however, some of such beautiful nature has been too-much touched by human. Teshima Island in Setouchi (the Seto Inland Sea) is one of its characteristic cases.