Exhibition: The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition London
“Photography is the art of visually carving out a primary moment and making it eternal!” His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the UK
March 2013 marks the second anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan. To celebrate the nation’s courage and international support the Asahi Shimbun, widely regarded as one of Japan’s most respected daily newspapers, and Mitsubishi Corporation have come together to host the Great East Japan Earthquake Press photo Exhibition which started it worldwide tour last year in Asia.
The London exhibition is being held at Gallery@Oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank from 5-17 March 2013 (full details at foot of post).
On Monday, 4th March, Diverse Japan was invited to the launch which began with a presentation: “State of Recovery”. This was followed by a press viewing and then the official opening ceremony, concluding with the opening reception.
The display is made up of 57 images captured by photographers from Asahi Shimbun spread across four categories. The exhibition is intended to serve as a reminder as to what happened on that fateful day of 3/11 and what has been happening since then and what is happening right now. It provides visitors with an opportunity to chart the progress made towards recovery. It is evident by the photographs on display that a lot has happened in the last two years on the road to healing. The exhibition serves as an important message: Not to forget. But why is so crucial for people not to forget?
Julie Rogers, Deputy General Manager of the Corporate Administration Department for the Mitsubishi Corporation in London, who, along with her colleagues in Japan, has been central in coordinating the exposition, told Diverse Japan, “We can help to mitigate future events by learning what happened this time.”
Tomoaki Ito, a reporters for The Asahi Shimbun who presented “State of Recovery” and has spoken and interviewed locals of all ages of the affected areas justifies the message as follows: “It may not be likely a disaster of this size will happen again anytime soon, however, everybody around the world is facing the threat of natural disasters and terrorist attacks – we don’t know what we are facing – so it’s important to learn how people were prepared for this kind of disaster and also how people are working towards recovery.”
About the Asahi Shimbun: The Asahi Shimbun is a nationally renowned newspaper with a circulation of 7.78 million copies for its morning edition and 3 million for the evening run. Since its launch in 1879 the company has undertaken various social projects, including sponsoring the National High School Baseball Championship, also known as Koshien, which launched in 1915, co-sponsoring the All Japan Brass Band competition and various other social endeavours similar to the Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition. The Asahi Shimbun digital edition launched in May 2011 and includes almost all articles found in the paper copy, as well as unique content and movie news. Various functions are available, including setting preferred articles from the past.
Please visit www.asahi.com for further details.
Having returned from Japan just a few days before the exhibition, His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the UK stated “I can confirm that the reconstruction program is making steady progress. A renew sense of purpose in the country is evident, which is crucial to what will be a long and winding recovery process.” He then went on to say, “These photos should humble us and shake us out of any complacency.”
Yasuhito Hirota, Senior Vice President of Mitsubishi Corporation said during his opening ceremony speech, “It is very difficult for me to describe in words the scale of devastation and only those pictures on display can tell you what has happened. But at the same time, if you look at the photos you will know what is happening at the moment for the recovery.”
About Mitsubishi Corporation: Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is a global integrated business enterprise that develops and operates businesses across virtually every industry including industrial finance, energy, metals, machinery, chemicals, foods, and environmental business. MC’s current activities are expanding far beyond its traditional trading operations as its diverse business ranges from natural resources development to investment in retail business, infrastructure, financial products and manufacturing of industrial goods.
Please visit www.mitsubishicorp.com for more information.
If you are able to venture to London’s South Bank then DJ urges you take the time, no matter how brief, to show your support of Japan’s continual recovery by visiting this meaningful exhibition. Though some images are harrowing, many are uplifting with a message of hope that comes from signs of recovery a disaster such as the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011 produces and, equally, demonstrates the strength of the human spirit, leaving us feeling inspired to make better our own lives, which ultimately constitutes to making a better and happier world for everyone.
Indeed, a picture paints a thousand words, so let the pictures speak to you.
Above image “She cries”: This image of a woman crying amidst the destruction of the earthquake and tsunami won third prize in the ‘people in the news’ category at the 55th World Press Photo Contest. A total of 101,254 images shot by 5,247 photographers from 124 countries were entered into the competition, with only 57 images receiving awards.
Feedback from previous locations in 2012, Jakarta, Bangkok, and Seoul has been very positive and no doubt the same will be true for the London, Hanoi and Paris exhibitions.
2 Years After: Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition (東日本大震災報道写真展) is on at Gallery@Oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf,South Bank, London SE1 9PH from today until 17th March. The gallery is open 11am – 6pm, and the exhibition is free to enter. The nearest stations are Southwark and Waterloo. For more information, please visit: www.2yearsafter.co.uk. You can also follow the exhibition on Twitter: @2YearsAfter and Facebook.
Special thanks to:
Tomoko Komura, MA (Japanese interpreter/Actress)
Yukiko Takahashi (Cross Media Ltd)