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Kojin Bridge, 1.800 meters from the hypocenter

image by
Hiromi Tsuchida

One week ago the earth trembled in Japan.
One week ago the surge struck Japan.
Since one week a nuclear tragedy
is unfolding in Japan to come to an end
many years from now.

The endless chattering on the net,
including my blog entries,
became very trivial to me.
I am beginning to understand
that our separation into individuals
with limited capabilities to empathize
is the only way to bear all the sorrow
that is happening to our fellow men.

I feel the sorrow I can bear to feel.

Photography Gallery “Hiroshima”: Introduction

by Mayu Tsuruya, co-producer of Hiroshima Archive

This online exhibition features a selection of photographs from Hiromi Tsuchida’s “Hiroshima” work dealing with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. The work consists of three subjects: monuments, people, and articles which were present during the atomic blast at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945. The photographs are accompanied by texts (originally including maps, too). Tsuchida has devoted himself to this Hiroshima project over the last two decades since 1975. He has been back to the photographed sites in the City of Hiroshima to update this visual record.

Photographs from “Hiroshima” might be a little surprising at first glance because they are unexpectedly calm, and some even look peaceful despite the disturbing nature of the subject. The scenes of the city are ordinary and most people posing for the photographer in their living room or work place have no visible physical scars. However, viewing one after another of these images, and reading their accompanying text, the viewer may realize that they were there at the moment of the atomic flash. Instantly this gap overwhelms the viewer with the difficulty of empathizing them. Then the question may be asked, “if it’s so painful to look at these images, what urged the photographer to confront the survivors?” One answer could be that he wants to find out who Japanese people of that generation, including himself really are.

“Hiroshima” provides us with a unique aspect of Japanese culture, an ability to adapt to a new environment. This is a double-edged sword. This is a good example of the Japanese ability to achieve miraculous growth during the post-war economy. On the other hand, their relentless urge to go forward put the experience of Hiroshima into oblivion. Tsuchida has examined Japanese national psyche in his previous series of works, such as “Zokushin” (Profane God) and “Counting Grains of Sand.” “Hiroshima” can easily exceed the boundaries of Tsuchida’s own culture and people; this work investigates the preciousness of life, strength in the human mind, and the fragility of human existence.