Tsukasa Yajima’s images of consolation ladies, ladies pressured into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Military, underline the significance of remembering atrocities of the previous.
Between 1932 and 1945, Japan pressured ladies from occupied Korea to develop into navy intercourse slaves and the darkish legacy stays politically divisive to today.
Yajima, who’s Japanese himself, set about to win the belief of survivors by going to dwell and work within the Home of Sharing, a nursing residence in Seoul, South Korea, the place the consolation ladies reside.
Yajima tells PetaPixel that it was not easy to realize the aged ladies’s confidence owing to him being a photographer, a person, and Japanese.
“It was not straightforward originally. One survivor, specifically, was strongly towards my keep within the Home of Sharing as a workers member,” explains Yajima.
“So, I attempted to study the Korean language as rapidly as potential in order that I might discuss along with her about my concepts regarding historical past, politics, and so forth.”
Yajima says that when he studied historical past in Tokyo he discovered from international college students Japan’s “untaught fashionable historical past” and have become all in favour of his nation’s colonialism and battle crimes.
Ultimately, Yajima started to speak with the skeptical lady who eventaully accepted him as a member of the family within the Home of Sharing.
“She has dementia right now however can nonetheless acknowledge me precisely properly, that’s my honor,” he provides.
Capturing Portraits of Consolation Ladies
Yajima shot the pictures in black and white on a Hasselblad movie digicam with an 80mm lens utilizing simply pure gentle. He modified a small storage room right into a darkish room within the Home of Sharing the place he might develop movies and makes prints.
“They weren’t affected person and I needed to wait till they mentioned to me, ‘Hey, do you need to take my picture now?’” He says.
“Capturing length was shorter than 5 minutes principally at every session. Typically I used to be allowed to take solely a few photos. The digicam needed to be ready prematurely and saved by my facet within the workplace.”
Yajima says that the purpose of his images is to attach the consolation ladies survivors to fashionable societies.
“Sexualised violence towards ladies in battle or battle areas is occurring even right now, repeatedly,” he says.
“I hope consolation ladies historical past is accepted as an excellent instance amongst our societies to cease violence towards ladies sooner or later.”
Yajima as a result of all in favour of images as an expression after visiting an exhibiton by Sebastião Salgado.
“It was necessary for me to think about myself as a ‘Japanese man’ who grew up in a patriarchal society,” he says.
“Consolation ladies historical past and its difficulty present me numerous necessary themes. As it’s not solely a battle crime, but in addition issues of colonialism, racism, navy tradition, misogyny, revisionism, and denialism of historical past.”
Bone of Competition
The difficulty of consolation ladies remains to be contentious between South Korea and Japan with the latter generally reluctant to completely admit accountability for its battle crimes.
An estimated 200,000 ladies, a big portion of which had been Korean, had been pressured into brothels to be consolation ladies for Japanese troops. Consolation ladies is a translation of the Japanese phrase ianfu, which accurately means comforting, consoling lady.
Yajima is at the moment displaying his pictures in Gwangju, South Korea in an exhibit entitled Put It Down, Keep in mind.
Extra of his Yajima’s could be discovered on his web site.
Picture credit: All pictures by Tsukasa Yajima.