It’s been a little over a year since the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan, killing thousands of people, causing billions of dollars in damage and displacing a substantial number of residents from their homes.

In remembrance of the devastation caused by one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, Japanese-born photographers Hiroyo Kaneko and Asako Shimazaki, both based in San Francisco, seek to redraw attention to the northern Japanese communities still being affected by the radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

From the Harvest Series by Hiroyo Kaneko


Kaneko hails from Aomori in the northernmost part of the Tohoku region, an area renown for its immense natural beauty. In 2007, Kaneko began documenting with her lens the daily lives of Aomori residents initiating a project titled Picnics and two additional projects Harvest and Snow Shoveling.

By Hiroyo Kaneko


Because of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Kaneko has recently returned to the theme of nuclear survivors explored in an older project Nagasaki Dialog. Her new photographs, taken in the winter of 2011, focus on the resiliency of the victims and the stunning beauty of the Tohoku regional landscape.

Shimazaki, in a trip to the northern coast of Japan twenty years ago, captured in black and white images the villages, ruins and isolation of the geographic region. She will disinter her collection for the exhibition.

The opening reception for Unfolding Lives in Tohoku will take place April 12, from 6pm to 8pm at the RayKo Photo Center Gallery.