Beauty may be as fleeting as the cherry blossoms, but so is suffering
Masahiro Kawatei’s “Sakura Blooms, One Year After” is a story of resilience and recovery, taken over a period of 15 years in his hometown of Kobe. 1996, the year after the disastrous earthquake had hit the region and caused destruction and death, the cherry blossoms still bloomed. Their sight offered a brief respite – and encouragement. Created between 1991 and 2005, Kawatei’s photographs tell of what has been lost, of pain and despair, but also hope, happiness and new life emerging from destruction.
“I could do nothing but keep shooting. I then encountered a view of cherry blossoms, blooming amidst the rubble. The town of my boyhood, a town born out of postwar rehabilitation, was now lost forever, replaced instead by homogenized subdivisions.
Here was a real physical experience of how towns are the repeated cycle of destruction and renewal.”
— from Masahiro Kawatei’s afterword
All texts included in Japanese and English translation.