The Lost & Found Project's Exhibit of Photos Swept Away by Tsunami in Japan opens Thursday at the Hiroshi Watanabe Gallery in West Hollywood. "Until the day of March 11th 2011, all the photos we have here today were in people’s homes," the project says. The exhibit runs through March 25.
"As the search for survivors ended and attention turned to the clean up mission, Self-Defense forces, firemen, and policemen who were in Tohoku to help survivors began to pick up photos they found in the mud, and to store them in an elementary school gymnasium. They were not asked to do it, nor did they have a clear sense of their objective. Perhaps they were just desperate to find something in of the rubble that could be saved. Over time, the gymnasium began to fill up with salvaged photographs.
"Two months after the earthquake hit, a group called the “Memory Salvage Project” began to sort out the photos and prepare them for return to their owners.
The images were cleaned and digitized by volunteers who came from Tokyo and other parts of Japan.
"The images varied in condition, from relatively clean to damaged beyond recognition. Some of the photographs you see here were so badly eroded by bacteria that they could not be cleaned, and therefore could not be returned. But each of these images, kept in a drawers or cabinet, was someone’s treasured memory until that fateful day."
Media note: Fox 11's Susan Hirasuna is in Japan this week to report on the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami. "I'm off by bullet train to Sendai..spending a few days with survivors of the great Tohuku earthquake and tsunami," she tweeted yesterday.
* Plus: The Rafu Shimpo has a calendar of anniversary commemorations around town, and on Saturday at UCLA there's a symposium featuring Sendai native Hitoshi Abe, director of the UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies and chair of the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design.