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Message from JPS President

Japan Professional Photographers Society President TAKEYOSHI TANUMA

The Post-TSUNAMI Exhibition

On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake, a seismic event of unprecedented force, struck Japan. In Japan, earthquakes are so common that Japan has been called "the earthquake archipelago." Since the year 2000, for example, there have been seven earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater.

But this earthquake was extraordinary. The tsunami that accompanied this magnitude 9.0 earthquake was a disaster of unanticipated proportions. In less than two minutes, homes and vehicles in communities along the coast were swept away by the immense power of the tsunami's mud-saturated wave. Many lost their lives, their homes, or their workplaces.

The area impacted by this disaster stretches 450 kilometers north to south along the Pacific coast of Japan. Some said that Japan would sink beneath its effects. The tsunami also struck the Fukushima nuclear power plant, destroying the reactors and releasing radioactive materials, further increasing the scope of the disaster.

We, the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS), are an organization of 1,700 members, of whom 119 were living in the parts of eastern Japan affected by the disaster. Some, themselves caught up in the disaster, struggled to capture its constantly changing face, moment by moment. Others traveled from other parts of Japan to document its effects.

A year later, on the anniversary of the disaster, the JPS held an exhibition titled "Ikiru" -Post-TSUNAMI to present a photographic record of this horrendous disaster to those alive today and to future generations. The photographs in the exhibition and accompanying book include work by JPS members, by amateur photographers who lived in the disaster area, and by photojournalists, all selected in accord with our plan for this exhibition. The photographs by people who lived in the affected areas and themselves faced the disaster constitute an acutely valuable record. In planning this exhibition, we also selected photographs that are powerful symbols of the disaster and its aftermath.

These photographs include images of victims stunned by the magnitude of the disaster that they see unfolding before them, photographs that recall how good life was before the disaster, including glimpses of the traditional culture and natural beauty of the region, and images of survivors struggling to restart their lives and rebuild their communities in its wake.

In response to the earthquake and tsunami, more than 1,200 experts from Germany and other countries traveled to Japan to assist in rescue operations, while one hundred twenty-six countries contributed supplies and financial support. This exhibition at Photokina 2012 is both a report and an expression of thanks to all who so generously assisted Japan in its hour of need. Nothing would please us more than having as many people as possible see it.

Message from Commissioner for Cultural Affairs, Japan


Seiichi Kondo, Commissioner for Cultural Affairs, Japan
September 2012

Japan incurred massive damage as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred in March 2011. In the disaster region, still today there are people who are unable to return to the kind of life they led before, but the entire country of Japan is working for recovery. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the warm moral and material support that has been extended to Japan by the Federal Republic of Germany and other countries worldwide since immediately after the catastrophic earthquake.

At a time such as this, the holding of the "Ikiru" — Post-TSUNAMI — photo exhibition organized by the Japan Professional Photographers Society is a deeply significant event. This exhibition consists of three parts titled "The Disaster", "Our Hometown", and "We Survive" and it contains a large number of photographs capturing both the devastation caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the appearance of the people who are striving to recover from the disaster. I believe that many viewers of these images will be deeply moved both by the dire conditions in the disaster region and by the sight of the disaster victims striving to overcome adversity and live their lives. This exhibition includes the works of not just professional photographers but amateurs as well. Taken in the disaster region by photographers working from various points of view and having their own personal thoughts and feelings about the scenes, these images also communicate the deep potential that exists in photographic expression.

Culture and art can bring us peace of mind and strength as well as hope for the future. The creativity inherent in culture and art also functions to give birth to new value and join hearts and minds together. At the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we will make every possible effort to utilize the power of culture to contribute to the recovery and development of Japan. I ask everyone visiting this exhibition for your continued assistance and support so we can achieve a strong recovery for Japan.

Message from Koelnmesse Vice President


Markus Oster Vice President, Trade Fair Management of Koelnmesse GmbH

On behalf of Koelnmesse, I welcome you! I am very happy that due to the support of the Tamron Co., Ltd. we can present this impressive exhibition of the Japan Professional Photographers Society to the visitors at photokina 2012. The photo exhibition was presented in Tokyo in March to mark the first anniversary of the catastrophe. At this exhibition at photokina 2012 the pictures are being shown outside Japan for the first time.

I have rarely been as deeply touched by images of a catastrophe as I was by the "Ikiru" exhibition. And I'm not just referring to the images of the catastrophe itself in all its dimensions. No, it is the pictures showing the daily life of the affected people after the disaster that exert a special fascination and vividly demonstrate the power of the image to the observer. One can almost physically feel the joy and the mental strength with which the people in that region are managing their daily lives after the catastrophe. The pictures strongly convey the emotions of the photographers, they offer very clear individual viewpoints, and they invite you to pause and to connect with the people shown in the pictures.

This unique expressivity of the pictures makes it irrelevant whether these pictures, which capture photographers' personal impressions and people's private moments, were taken by professional photographers or amateurs. On the contrary, sometimes it's the spontaneous, technically imperfect images that touch you the most.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is photo exhibitions like these that generate the special fascination of photokina. Our sector, the image sector, consists of more than just technology and products. Photography is about emotions — emotions that we can capture within a picture, emotions that we connect with our pictures, and emotions that are created within the viewer by the photo. photokina is of course an international trend and innovation platform which is unparalleled in the world. Its mission is to convey the fun and fascination of photography and to show the creative and also the emotional aspects of photographic technology.

This exhibition exemplifies to a very high degree the emotional power that images deliver to the visitors of photokina. It allows viewers to participate in these experiences without feeling voyeuristic, it makes it possible for us to connect with the people in the pictures, and it is an invaluable collection of visual images of contemporary history. An exhibition of this caliber deserves crowds of visitors. I therefore wish it the attention it deserves, and I would be glad if as many photokina visitors as possible look in on not only the other galleries at our trade fair but also, and especially, the impressive "Ikiru" exhibition.

Thank you very much!