On 11 March 2011, an earthquake with the magnitude of 9 struck the north-eastern part of Japan. It was neither
the first in recent years nor the strongest in history, yet the devastating consequences this time were beyond
anyone’s imagination. Not only did a tsunami of unprecedented strength literally wash away many villages,
defying all measures of protection that had been taken and robbing countless lifes, the collapse of nuclear
reactors in the Fukushima power plant and the subsequent radiation left the nation aghast before a threat
potentially bigger than anything before. For the first time, a piece of land had to be evacuated with no
perspective of return in the near future.
When coming back to Japan after a hiatus of a year in 2012, I noticed a change in behaviour, in attitude that
had taken place: Gone was the optimism that had always kept the country on course, even in the face of natural
disasters that frequently strike the archipelago. Fear and uncertainty had spread, putting the nation in a sort
of zombie mode where everyone kept on with his daily life without knowing what tomorrow would bring. Using a
modified digital camera that captures infrared pictures, I sought to translate this particular mood into a
photographic series, called “Tokyo Radiant”.
These photographs are not accusatory, they follow no political agenda nor try to document any of the actual
happenings: as pieces of a personal artistic work, they hopefully convey a very special feeling and thus become
a reminder of the fragility of our well-sorted, seemingly ordinary world.
With the terrible events five years behind and the Tokyo Olympics ahead, the mood has long turned into something
different, making this series a somewhat historic document. Yet, many of the issues remain relevant, with
thousands of people still living in temporary houses, and the ruin of the Fukushima power plant still emitting
an uncontrolled amount of radiation into the Pacific Ocean.