FIRST PHOTOBOOK SHORTLIST: Silent Histories
Photographer: Kazuma Obara
Publisher: Self-published, Kyoto, 2014
Designed by Jan Rosseel and Yumi Goto
This tweed-covered album grants individuality and voice to six of the hundreds of thousands of Japanese people injured by U.S. bombing during the Second World War. Kazuma Obara, a young photojournalist, dove into the personal archives of these individuals, many of whom were injured during air raids as very small children; one was badly burnt as a newborn. Snapshots, class photos, and views of Japanese cities in 1945 and today, as well as Obara’s recent portraits of each person, are interspersed with pull-out replicas of government disability cards and wartime magazines. “I’m surprised that it was possible to publish this book, considering its very complicated printing,” says Mutsuko Ota. “Because it includes bureaucratic and personal pictures as well as propaganda, it shows photography’s many roles”.