Prayer in Stricken Land
Project info

I have been taking pictures of Fukushima since March 11, 2011. This is the second part of my Fukushima project. I took these photos between May 2012 and April 2013. In this series entitled “Prayer in Stricken Land,” I have focused on Minami-souma City, a small seaside town located to the north of the exploded nuclear power plant. It is really a special place, for it was literally devastated by triple disasters, namely earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear crisis. People lost a lot of things from families and friends to houses and jobs.

While the aftermath is still shocking, what has been more impressive to me in this stricken land has been that local people are very religious and the act of praying is rooted deeply in their life. Each community has its own shrine, which plays a core role to tie people together. This may be a reason for their cooperativeness and a source for their community resilience.

In particular in Minami-souma, largely due to the long stable reign throughout the medieval ages, old religious traditions and practices remain intact. So, in the second year after the disasters, remaining people have restarted them in hope for restoration. They are trying to confirm their unity to overcome the hardships.

Desperate situations still continue. Praying is not simple. But people are struggling supported by one another, between hope and fear.