Sakura - Fukushima Samurai

PhotographerNoriko Takasugi
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The Nomaoi Samurai warriors portrayed here were once residents in the area close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant but they are no longer allowed to live there. Each of them stands in the places that had a personal meaning to them in the area. 2000 people died in Fukushima due to 3.11, 80% of whom were from the area where the Soma Nomaoi is held. My ordinary life and Japanese root, which is not the extraordinary things for us but accumulation of our choices, came across to these Samurai while I am taking the light and shadow of them.

About Photographer

Born in Japan. Since 2004, Takasugi has studied with Masato Seto, a student of Daido Moriyama and an adjudicator of current Kimura Ihei Awards. In 2012, she graduated with an MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography from The London College of Communication. Working as an editor for monthly graphic magazines led her to develop her innate passion for photography and storytelling. Connecting with people who have their culture strongly associated with their land, and integrating herself with them through photography has always fascinated her and at the same time given her the opportunity to find herself. Her recent interest is focusing on family, daily life, culture, and environment in countryside of Japan where people’s life is firmly based on their land. Living in UK for totally 2 years in 2002 and 2012 and traveling around more than 20 countries on business trips as editor of travel and nature magazines and a backpacker gave Takasugi great opportunities to observe and consider the breadth of Japanese identity, as well as her particular interest of identity even while she lives in Japan. This led her to deepen her insight and interest in identity and to develop her photographic background and core skills. Takasugi’s current photographic practice and longer term project work is looking at Japanese identities and the relationship between man and environment with a particular emphasis on the people of Fukushima. In 2011, along with 8 other photographers, Takasugi started the ‘Fukushima Photo Project’ which consists of photography workshops with people who were evacuated from the reactor exclusion zone and an exhibition, 9 Photographer’s Eyes. This has been co-organized with The Fukushima Prefectural Museum with the support of Canon Marketing Japan Inc. Recent Publications: - 20 January 2014: Fukushima Samurai – The Story Of Identity, by Noriko Takasugi, IPA Photo essay, The Invisible Photographer Asia - 17 January 2014: Fukushima Samurai, Square Magazine - 11 January 2014: Anish Kapoor's Ark, Telegraph - 9 December 2013: "Features and Essays PJL: December 2013", TIME’s Lightbox photo blog - 30 December 2013: Review of five emerging photography trends from 2013 in IMSO - 3 December 2013: "Samurai in Fukushima Guard a 1,000-Year-Old Tradition" in Wired.com - 10 March 2013: “Fukushima Samurai two years on” in Independent on Sunday (and online) Recent Major Accolades: - April 2014: KONICA MINOLTA FOTO PREMIO 2014 - August 2013: Scholarship and finalist of Critical Mass 2013, Photolucida - June 2013: Finalist of Royal Photographic Society156th International Print Exhibition - April 2013: Shortlisted for the The Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprises in Photography 2013 - February 2013: Photobook “Fukushima Samurai – the story of identity” was selected for E book show Recent Major Group Exhibitions: - July 2013 - March 2014: Royal Photographic Society156th International Print Exhibition in UK- July - December 2013: “Fukushima Samurai”, Chernobyl Ukrainian National Chornobyl Museum in Chernobyl - 4 - 28 March 2013: “Fukushima Samurai - the story of identity” in “9 photographers’ eye vol.3”, Embassy of Japan in the UK in London