Friday, January 10, 2014

Japanese Photographer Kikujiro Fukushima - 70 Years of Exposing Nuclear Tragedy in Japan

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Kikujiro Fukushima (odd coincidence of name with the Fukushima nuclear disaster currently ongoing in Japan) was in the Japanese military during World War II, honorably serving his country and emperor, Hirohito. In fact, he was stationed at Hiroshima until one week before the bomb was dropped, when he was transferred to train for a suicide mission. As the war ended, Fukushima was apalled not only by the damage, sickness, and orphaning of families that resulted from the bomb, but also by how poorly his own government responded to the situation. He even wrote a book that was critical of emperor Hirohito.
There is a great post about Fukushima on the NY Times blog, Lens.
(Click Here) to read the post.
Fukushima photographed many people suffering after the bomb in Hiroshima, including a personal friend. He later moved on to covert photography of Japan's self defense forces, while simultaneously supplying them with photographs for use in publicity. In the end, he exposed weapons manufacturing that was not supposed to be happening. Fukushima's been the victim of physical violence multiple times in retribution for his work.
Fukushima recently traveled to the site of the recent nuclear disaster, caused by earthquake and tsunami, to photograph the aftermath. He's 92 years old.
When the interviewer asked what's next for him, Fukushima answered that he's 92, his body is failing, how can there be anything? Then, and I like this very much, he asked the interviewer if he knew of any really good, tiny, point and shoot cameras. I hope I have that spirit at 92.