Photographs of Tōhoku


As previously posted on GR, I made several trips to the northern countryside of Japan in the days and weeks following the disaster of 3/11. And, though the intent of these ragtag “missions,” was primarily humanitarian, I took many photos along the way, posting them with my reports on these pages.

I recently culled the most evocative of those shots for display at the 12th incarnation of the always delightful Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival, held last week in Frankfurt. Going through these images was difficult and, needless to say, brought back some very sad memories. What a year.

GR readers will have seen many of these images before, but here they are (again) as collected for their recent showing at the festival. I know many among you are probably experiencing disaster burnout, but I think it’s worth having another look, and pausing to contemplate the awesome power of nature and, indeed, the transience of our own existence.

From Tokyo,

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3/12 newspaper headline: “ALL GONE” 3/15 following military escort towards Tōhoku Expressway 3/13 emergency vehicles on the Tōhoku Expressway, southern outskirts of Sendai 3/13 bridge closed on the Tōhoku Expressway, southern outskirts of Sendai 3/13 looking east towards seashore, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 looking west towards mountains, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 looking east towards seashore, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 looking west towards mountains, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 looking east towards seashore, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 broken Sendai city road post, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 box of Children’s Day festival dolls, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/13 Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai 3/14 walking towards Ishinomaki Station, Ishinomaki City 3/14 roads flooded, Ishinomaki City 3/14 children’s commemorative photo studio, Ishinomaki City 3/14 children’s commemorative photo studio, Ishinomaki City MichaelArias_NipponConnection2012_No20 3/14 “Cheap Automobile Inspection and Registration,” Ishinomaki City 3/14 photo album, Ishinomaki City 3/14 “Caution” sign, abandoned car, and dead dog, Ishinomaki City 3/14 pile of cars, Ishinomaki City 3/14 survivors in Ishinomaki Middle School, Ishinomaki City 3/14 list of temporary residents of Ishinomaki Middle School, Ishinomaki City 3/14 Kyōto fire brigade on Route 398, outskirts of Shizugawa area, Minami Sanriku 3/14 looking towards ocean, outskirts of Shizugawa area, Minami Sanriku 3/14 looking towards ocean, outskirts of Shizugawa area, Minami Sanriku 3/15 distributing drinking water in front of Tome City Hall MichaelArias_NipponConnection2012_No31 3/15 members of Queensland Search and Rescue Task Force outside Tome City Hall 3/15 members of Queensland Search and Rescue Task Force outside Tome City Hall 3/15 newly arrived fire brigades checking radiation, staging area for Minami Sanriku operations 3/15 newly arrived fire brigades checking radiation, staging area for Minami Sanriku operations 3/15 Minami Sanriku 3/15 members of New South Wales Search and Rescue Task Force, Minami Sanriku 3/15 Minami Sanriku 3/15 leader of New South Wales Search and Rescue Task Force, Minami Sanriku 3/15 arrow pointing towards bodies of victims, Minami Sanriku 3/15 recycling materials near daycare center, Minami Sanriku 3/15 New South Wales Search and Rescue Task Force extracting bodies of children from daycare center, Minami Sanriku 3/25 dosimeter, Tōhoku Expressway, Fukushima 3/25 Russian journalists, Tōhoku Expressway, Fukushima 3/25 Aoba Middle School, Ishinomaki City 3/25 volunteers and health staff at Aoba Middle School, Ishinomaki City 3/25 missing person notices, Aoba Middle School, Ishinomaki City 3/25 Port of Ishinomaki, Ishinomaki City 3/26 Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 3/26 Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 3/26 temporary communal burial, Kesennuma City 3/26 temporary communal burial, Kesennuma City 3/26 temporary communal burial, Kesennuma City 3/26 fire and tsunami damage, Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 3/26 fire and tsunami damage, Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 3/26 fire and tsunami damage, Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 3/26 fire and tsunami damage, Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 3/26 fire and tsunami damage, Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 3/26 grounded ship and debris, Port of Kesennuma, Kesennuma City 4/5 outskirts of Ishinomaki City 4/5 debris from cannery, outskirts of Ishinomaki City 4/5 ruined houses in residential neighborhood, outskirts of Ishinomaki City 4/5 ruined houses in residential neighborhood, outskirts of Ishinomaki City 4/15 Onagawa Kaido road at high tide, outskirts of Onagawa City 4/15 Onagawa Kaido road at high tide, outskirts of Onagawa City 4/15 Onagawa Kaido road at high tide, outskirts of Onagawa City 4/15 downtown Onagawa City 4/15 downtown Onagawa City 4/15 candy store and wrecked train, Onagawa City 4/15 military engineers, Onagawa City 4/15 debris, Port of Onagawa, Onagawa City 4/15 debris, Port of Onagawa, Onagawa City 4/15 grounded fishing boat, Port of Onagawa, Onagawa City 4/15 downtown Onagawa City 4/15 downtown Onagawa City 4/15 downtown Onagawa City 4/15 view from hospital, downtown Onagawa City 4/15 view from hospital, downtown Onagawa City 4/16 fertilizer plant, outskirts of Onagawa City 4/14 volunteer cooking at Second Harvest Japan, Tokyo 4/14 volunteers delivering food and supplies from Second Harvest Japan to Onagawa, Onagawa City 4/20 lunch at Onagawa Primary School #1, Onagawa City 4/5 Peace Boat food and supplies warehouse, Ishinomaki City 6/18 searching for remains in Shizugawa area, Minami Sanriku 6/18 toys, Minami Sanriku 6/18 survivors in temporary housing watching movie, Kesennuma City 4/24 debris, Onagawa City 6/18 downtown Onagawa City 6/18 surfboard on Cobalt Line road, Onagawa City Photographs of Tōhoku by Michael Arias

All photos copyright © 2012 Michael Arias. All rights reserved.


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