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HIROSHIMA 2015 – The Experience of the Actual Crisis Passing Away

As days and years go by, the ones who have the experience of the actual crisis passes away. Even if the issue appears on a school text in history books and someone says to remember it forever, nothing can be helped since everything was 70 years away. And now the people are much more aware of the repetition of history. As a photographer, what I chose to do is to take photographs of how Hiroshima in 2015 looks like, not the black and white aftermath images that appear typically in our minds when we hear the word “HIROSHIMA”. Stopping and observing deeply into the images and imagine where we, this land and this country is heading.

Hinano Hara 16, Yui Yamaoka 17. 2.6km from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

High school girls waiting for their parents arrival to pick them up and to go see the baseball game of CARPS, the professional baseball team in Hiroshima for the Japanese baseball league. “I don’t want to live away from Hiroshima, it’s the best place.” says Hinano. “Tokyo seems scary for me.” says Yui.

Fans at the Mazda Stadium watching the game in their own ways. 2.8km from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

“8:15am August 6, 1945, America’s B-29 dropped the uranium type A-bomb called the “Enola-Gay” on Hiroshima. This first ever-used atomic bomb has killed over one hundred fifty thousand and at burst the whole city of Hiroshima within 3km became devastation. It is easy to recall the black and white image of the aftermath of Hiroshima immediately but Kentaro Takahashi the Japanese photographer born in 1989, wanted to update those symbolic viewpoints from the World War 2. He meets the inhabitants and tries to give values to the banal landscapes. He thus makes portraits of a cosmopolitan city that has more than one million inhabitants and which the modern architecture embody the will to rebuild from the devastation, without forgetting. Kentaro, while covering the city, took notes of the distance from the epicenter of the explosion at each spot where he took a photograph. He attempts to imprint the historical facts in his own perspective.”
– Marie Lelievre (Photo Editor at Le Monde)

At the Hiroshima Central Park. 664m from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

It was said 70 years ago when the bomb was dropped that there will be no nature that will grow in Hiroshima for over 70 years.

This work was created in the 70th year after the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. The whole project was initially given to me as an assignment from Marie Lelievre, a photo editor from Le Monde. I also had an interest in Hiroshima since I had been doing some personal work called the ‘The Imagining’ from 2014, which was about what Japan experienced during the Second World War. The title ‘HIROSHIMA 2015’ was a reference from a photo book called ‘HIROSHIMA 1958’, Photographs were taken by Emmanuelle Riva, a French actress who came to Hiroshima in 1958 for a film shoot named the ‘Hiroshima mon amour’. During her stay with her medium format film camera, she walked around Hiroshima for about a week before her film shoot. Her photographs are all in black and white but it’s very clear and you can observe the reconstruction process in the summer of Hiroshima in its 13th year after the crisis. She was able to communicate through the lens with the pedestrians, and the portraits along with the landscape images of the Hiroshima in that time brings a somewhat nostalgic feeling. I have kind of walked on the path of her steps by taking photographs in the summer of Hiroshima in 2015 with color photographs taken on medium format films. Also, my stay in Hiroshima was a week as well which brings it somewhat closer to Emmanuelle Riva’s vision.

Japanese bedquilts “futons” being held to expose them in the fresh air.1.8km from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

As days and years go by, the ones who have the experience of the actual crisis passes away. Even if the issue appears on a school text in history books and someone says to remember it forever, nothing can be helped since everything was 70 years away. And now the people are much more aware of the repetition of history.

Kentaro Yamaguchi 19. 4km from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

A university student part time working at a gasoline stand. “Hiroshima is comfortable. Even though I would like to see other cities, there would probably not be any reason to go out from Hiroshima.”

Under the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. 434m from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

Junior high school students on their feild trip waits for their teacher’s orders. “Calm down and listen!”, one school teacher is yelling at the students.

Fumiya 82 and Miyoko Ikeda 80. 2.3km from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

Fumiya’s father used to work at the a-bomb dome, which used to be called the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall back in August 6,1945. “My father was working on that day. When we experienced the explosion, our house(about 2km from the epicenter) was almost gone in a split second, the window glass cutting our skins. Once things got settled, we evacuated in a temporary shelter. After a few days, my mother went back to the hall to find our father but he couldn’t be identified. What remained was a SWISS made watch that my father used to wear, found at the dome. Now it is being exhibited at the memorial museum.”

Rie Hijikata 34, an office lady at a company in Hiroshima. 42m from the epicenter of the a-bomb explosion.

“We can feel free about anything in life. We don’t have to think about the A-bomb either. But I tend to do it. Maybe because I feel something in my DNA. I don’t know.” – Rie Hijikata


Kentaro Takahashi

born in 1989, in Yokohama, Japan. In 2012, Kentaro graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo with a degree in Social Science and Informatics.

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