In her latest photobook, Japanese artist Ai Iwane explores the ties between a special aspect of Japanese Hawaiian culture and its roots in Fukushima prefecture: the o-bon, a festival for honoring one’s ancestors. A particular song played during the Hawaiian bon festival, the “Fukushima Ondo,” stems from the area of Fukushima which was devastated by the 2011 disasters.
Through a brilliant combination of portraits, landscapes and moody detail shots, Iwane manages to tell a story of uprootedness and connection.
“A century has passed since that song was brought from Fukushima to Hawaii,
exiled from the hometown that it shares with the refugees.
The Hawaiian term refers to a place surrounded by the burnt-out traces of lava flow;
a place where plants grow and spread the seeds of new life.
This is the idea that I resorted to time and again during my travels between Hawaii and Fukushima.”
— from Ai Iwane’s afterword