Kazuma Obara’s photobook “Silent Histories” is an affecting, well-researched photographic story of six survivors of the bombings during WWII and the difficulties they faced in post-war Japan.
Through snapshots, vintage portraits, class photos, historical photographs taken during and after the war, replicas of documents and newspapers, the book gathers aspects surrounding the issue of the bombings themselves, Japan’s stance towards its war victims, as well as personal perspectives into a comprehensive, multi-faceted visual story.
The US bombings of Japan in the later years of the Second World War killed hundreds of thousands on the ground and left more than 430’000 people injured and scarred.
After the war, Japan managed (with assistance by the USA’s Marshall Plan) to rebuild and grow to become the second-largest economy in the world during the “Japanese economic miracle” period. Yet those wounded by the war – children especially – found themselves left out of many of the benefits of the new economic growth and were forced into a difficult life without much chance to heal their wounds.
Having to avoid “causing trouble,” they were forced to hide their scars and live in silence. Through this publication, Obara gives voice to six histories that had to keep silent for more than 70 years.