One Last Hug

 

Yuki Iwanami
In Japanese and English

 


 
An aching portrait of fathers searching for their loved ones.
 
The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku claimed 18,429 lives, and even now, nearly nine years later, another 2,532 people are still missing. Soon after the disaster, Fukushima-based photojournalist Yuki Iwanami began documenting the quest of three fathers for their young children swept away on that day. Their only wish: to give their loved ones “one last hug.” The photographs confront us with challenging questions— If these men know that their children cannot possibly be alive after all this time, then what is the nature of the “existence” of those they seek? And what does it mean, truly, for any of us to be alive?
 
Immediately after the disaster, restoration became the first point on the agenda, and within that general mood, investigations [for the missing] seemed to get pushed to the back. . . . The tsunami . . . left behind an unimaginably large field of destruction that had to be searched, and my vague initial idea was that they probably only had a few months to do so. . . . However, even now that eight years have passed, the feelings of parents toward their children are still a reality.

——Editorial postscript


 
Yuki Iwanami, born in 1977 in Nagano Prefecture, worked as a staff photographer for the Yomiuri shimbun newspaper before going freelance. He is presently based in Fukushima Prefecture, where he produces work themed on the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Iwanami’s photographs of Fukushima have been shown in New York and around the world. One Last Hug was exhibited at the Nikon Salons in Ginza and Osaka and Focus Photography Festival Mumbai; parts of the series were awarded third prize for best published picture story (smaller markets) in the National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism competition and a special jury prize at the Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards, both in 2018. Honors for other works include a Konica Minolta Foto Premio in 2002 and selection in the 2013 Critical Mass Top 50.

□ size: 182 × 257 × 25 mm, 835 g
□ binding: hardcover
□ pages: 188
□ release date: January 24, 2020
□ price: 5,000 yen (JPY)
 
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