Kazuma Obara





»Essay/Book Review



Silent Histories


Selfpublish, Edition 45, 2014
Editorial RM, Edition 1900,2015
Kazuma Obara (photographs)
162 pages
217 images
10.1 × 7.1 in
Design: Jan Rosseel, Yumi Goto, Kazuma Obara
English edition(日本語原文を希望の方は無料で冊子をおつけしています。)
ISBN RM Verlag 978-84-16282-30-2


Silent Histories is a testimony to the tragedy of indiscriminate bombing by US forces during the War in the Pacific, which killed 330,000 Japanese and in-jured 430,000 more. The figures are imposing: some 9.7 million left homeless and more than 2.23 million homes destroyed in more than 200 different cities. In the midst of this enormous destruction, many children were orphaned in an instant or suffered burning or mutilations that marked them for life.


Japan achieved its economic recovery in the wake of wartime devastation. This remarkable growth has been dubbed the “Japanese economic miracle.” In spite of this unprecedented prosperity, however, children with war injuries have been forced to live harsh lives, unable to cure their wounds. They have lived in the shadows, concealing their pain, hiding their scars, and sparing others the discomfort of seeing them.


Silent Histories was originally published in 2014 in a special limited edition of forty-five handmade copies. And new edition of 1900 copies were published by Editorial RM in 2015.


太平洋戦争における米軍の無差別爆撃は日本の本土に残る 33 万の人々を殺し、43 万人を負傷させた。 970 万人にのぼる人々と 223 万の家屋が被災し、日本の 200 以上の都市が致命的な損害を受けた。その 途方もない被害の中で、当時6歳だったある女の子は左足を失った。生まれて2時間しか経過していな い赤ちゃんの左足を焼夷弾の炎が襲った。ある男の子は全身に火傷を負い、また、ある女の子は一瞬に して家族 6 人を失い孤児となった。
戦後、日本は焼け野原から世界有数の経済大国に発展した。その驚くべき成長は「東洋の奇跡」とまで 言われた。しかし、そんな輝かしい経済成長の影で、子どもたちは傷痕を見られないように、そのハン デによって人に迷惑をかけないように、一生懸命その痛みを隠しながら、ひっそりと生きてきた。


国への補償を求める犠牲者たちの被害の証拠を示す資料として2014年に最高裁に提出された手製の写真集は、その後45部のみ製作された。2015年には普及版としてスペイン・メキシコをベースとする出版社EDITORIAL RMから1900部が出版された。



«Award/ Nomination»
Nominated Arles Author Book Award 2016(France)
Nominated Kassel Photobook Festival Best Photobook 2015(Germany)
Nominated Best Photobook of Photo Espana 2016(Spain)
TIME Best Photobooks 2014(US)
Shortlisted for Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2014(France)
Claxton Project -The fourteen photobook highlight of 2014(US)
LensCulture Editor’s – 2014 Photobooks of the Year(The Netherlands)
Telegraph My favourite photo books of 2014 by Photo editor Cheryl Newman(UK)
Photo eye -Best books of 2014 by Colin pantall(UK)


«Book Review»
So ultimately the book is about making visible the scars and pain of war, of recognising the suffering that civilians go through everywhere, and ending all wars. It’s a dream, but it’s a good one, delivered in outstanding powerful fashion.
—Colin Pantall


This award-winning hand-made book presents an immersive and highly moving collection of “silent histories” of six injured survivors of the bombings of Japan in WWII — visual storytelling and book design at its best.
—LensCulture, with primary notes and comments by Yumi Goto


Less about the tragedy of the war and what America did, Silent Histories is a poignant anti-war book about how and why we forget, but also how we can heal and move forward. Cities can be rebuilt and the dead are gone, but the physical and emotional scars remain and can’t be pushed aside. They need to remain visible so we don’t forget. Sadly, it should not take an art book to remind us of this awful truth.
—photo-eye blog, Adam Bell


As an artist (photographer, writer, painter, …) all you can hope for is that there will be enough people who might pause, and then enough people who might learn something or decide to change their minds, however hard this might be as one ages. As an artist, I believe, you also have the duty to make those materials available, such as this book, so that people will have that option. This is what Obara has done here. Not more, but certainly not less.
—Conscientious Photography Magazine, Jörg M. Colberg


I cannot easily put into words how much I love this book. It’s made as a testament to the suffering of 430,000 civilians who were injured during the American bombing of Japan during the Second World War. The books tell the deeply personal stories of survival and mistreatment by the Japanese government to compensate its victims, which has been hidden for the past 69 years.
—The Telegraph, My favourite photo books of 2014, Cheryl Newman on the photography books that caught her eye