The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku claimed 18,429 lives, and as of early 2020, 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 whom they seek? And what does it mean, truly, for any of us to be alive?
From the author's postscript:
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.