On March 2011, Japan went through a series of catastrophe. Earthquake and tsunami hitting the country and my hometown Fukushima was also affected. The earthquake also hit the nuclear power plant located in Fukushima and for some time there were great fear of radiation leakage. Many people lost their family, friends and home in the tsunami. I felt scared and powerless as I watched the news from Australia.

Two months after the tsunami, my grandmother who gave me a chance to learn photography passed away and I went back to Japan. There were many sad news about earthquakes, tsunami and radiation leakage everyday in the Japanese media. However, despite many losses, Japanese people did not lose hope as they continued to live their lives. When I saw them, I remembered my grandparents. I recalled taking photos of them and thought that those photos might have been the best photos I have ever taken.

In my memory, my grandparents were beautiful, cheerful and loving. Back in the Second World War, they lost their family and friends. And although life was hard and food was scarce at that time, they never gave up. They lived strongly and cheerfully. Their story inspired me and when I was 19 years old, I decided I wanted to take pictures of their day-to-day happiness and sadness. I was not sure how I managed to capture their strength and goodness in the pictures. It could be because I loved them so much and couldn’t stop taking pictures of them.

The daily lives of my grandparents always aroused my interest and every time I captured their lives with my camera, I ran to the photo studio to develop the pictures and waited patiently until they were done.

Although they are no longer in this world, they will always live in my heart. The pictures of their daily lives never failed to inspire me to live happily and cheerfully even in times of hardships. I hope the pictures and story told within the pictures could also help others, who see them, to find joy and happiness.

Thank you,

Tomomi Sakuma

10% of monies raised from the sale of works will be donated to charity for the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.