Ibasyo: a photographer’s response to self-harm in Japan

6 minutes

A photographer seeks dignity in his series on self-harm among Japanese women

The Japanese photographer Kosuke Okahara documented self-harm among young Japanese women for six years, culminating in his acclaimed photo documentary project Ibasyo. ‘Ibasyo’ means ‘inner peace’ or ‘the physical and emotional space in which people exist’, and this interview with Okahara grounds his powerful images in their very specific context – despair, violence and the ‘culture of shame’ from which these women are seeking some release. Despite the undeniably grim subject of his project, Okahara sees it as a ‘story of recognising the existence of people’, and thus a means of helping these young women connect with people in their lives who might be able to offer help.

Producer: Morlene Chin

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