Photography: March 11th Earthquake

Last time I wrote about a photography project I was starting on foreign refugees in Japan, especially the Nagoya area.

I started shooting it properly on the 11th March – 10 minutes after the earthquake hit Tohoku. I planned to meet Moses, a Ugandan refugee, at 2.45 in central Nagoya. The earthquake hit at 2.46. He was a few minutes late and while I was waiting the earthquake hit and Japan changed forever.

But we got off lightly down here in Nagoya so we had no issues about sticking to the daily plan and going about as normal. But that was only because none of us really knew the extent of what had just happened.

I captured this as one of friend was on the phone trying to find out how bad the quake really was.

Moses, nearest to camera, has been in the Nagoya Immigration Detention Centre 4 times and has had a couple of articles written about him in the Japan Times. The latest one is here.

I thought it would be difficult to find refugees outside Tokyo but that’s not the case. In just a few weeks I have met refugees from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
None of them came to Japan because they wanted to. They came here because the Japanese Embassy in their home countries were the first to issue visas.

Last week I photographed a Ugandan/Tanzanian family. I’ll post some photos from that next time.




右側にいるモーゼスさんは、名古屋入国管理局の移民拘留センターに4回拘留されたらしい。その話について The Japan Timesの記事がいくつかありました。一番最近のがここです(英語)。



This was taken after the second earthquake/aftershock on March 11th. We’d just come back inside after everything started wobbling – and Nagoya is about 600kms from where the tsunami hit. The woman on the phone was trying to work out how bad it was.

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