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2011年、震災のたった2,3ヶ月後、多くの人命や馬を失い武具を失った厳しい状況下で、大多数の侍たちは相馬野馬追の決行に合意し、その1000年以上も続く歴史を未来へつないだ。
なぜ生きるのか、どのように生きるのか、なぜその土地やその仕事を離れずに、その選択肢を選んで生きるのか。ゆるぎないアイデンティティは同時にもろさともなりうる。それは決して彼らだけに起こった特別なことではないように思った。
私の生活は、私の日々の中で何が大切かを選んできたものの累積であり、紡がれてきたものだ。侍たちと時間をともにする中で、いつのまにか、そこに生きる彼らに自分を重ねながら写真を撮っていた。



Nomaoi Samurai who stand here were the residents of the area near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. They are unable to live there anymore but are able to enter the territory during a day. The Nomaoi men took me to the restricted area, to the places personally meaningful to them, reviving memories of home.



Armored from head to toe with inherited familial flags hanging from their backs, five hundred samurai storm forward recreating a battle scene. Soma Nomaoi is an annual celebration of samurai culture in Fukushima more than one thousand years old.

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011 caused widespread destruction including the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. About two thousand people died in Fukushima, eighty per cent of whom were from the area where the Soma Nomaoi is held. Due to the radiation, the people were forced to relocate the day after the disaster, with many indefinitely losing their houses, land and jobs.

Despite the harsh conditions, loss of lives and loss of hundreds of their horses and much of their armory, the majority of the surviving Nomaoi men agreed to hold the gathering in 2011, just a few months after the disaster.

Having spent a month with the local people between summer and autumn 2012, I believe Soma Nomaoi is not just an event but an embodiment of their identity and fight for survival. This unique sense of identity represents not only how, but why, they live.