Regal Photos of Samurai Men in Storm-Ravaged Japan

The 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex that ravaged Japan has not quelled the country’s rich cultural traditions. Soma Nomaoi is an annual celebration honoring samurai culture in Fukushima, which dates back more than one thousand years ago. The disaster death toll is staggering. Many people were forced to relocate due to radiation, but the surviving Nomaoi men have banded together in the face of tragedy and honored those lost by continuing to observe the gathering. We learned about artist Noriko Takasugi on My Modern Met, who spent a month photographing Fukushima’s Nomaoi and believes the event is “an embodiment of their identity and fight for survival.” Read some their personal stories, and see Takasugi’s regal photos of the men amongst their storm-ravaged surroundings in our gallery.

Photo credit: Noriko Takasugi
Photo credit: Noriko Takasugi

“Yoshiyuki, 59, took me to his former house that was also his small furniture factory in Odaka-ku where he had lived since he was born and worked locally for more than 35 years. In July in 2012, he moved all the equipment from his former home to his new home in another city, where he evacuated to and lives now, to restart the furniture business there. ‘We might return to Odaka-ku some day but I don’t want my children to live here,’ says Yoshiyuki.”