YOU AND ME everyday everywhere everytime

「YOU AND ME everyday everywhere everytime」


I had thought it would be better for everyone in the family to go on with life as usual, until death became an unavoidable subject for us all.


My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in September 2016, and immediately underwent surgery and chemotherapy, but within a year her cancer had returned. We’d exhausted all possible forms of surgery and treatment.

Despite this, she was her usual energetic self – she kept up with her daily routines, busying herself with housework as usual, and even keeping up with her exercise regime. 


My mother-in-law’s condition quickly deteriorated after the doctor told her to stay at home. We fed her what seemed like fistfuls of pills after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We arranged home visits with the doctor and set up a rented home-care bed on the first floor. Within days came the wheelchair, and then the bedpan. And finally, her body could only accept a liquid diet. 


Unfamiliar with the extent of what her care would entail, my family and I soon were overwhelmed and exhausted by the mental and physical toll of it all. After an in-home check-up, her doctor, noticing that the regimen was becoming too much for us, took us aside and proposed: 

"Why don't you put your mother-in-law in hospice for a week to give the family a break?” 

A few days later, the doctor’s proposal became an order. "She has to be admitted to hospice. She may have only one week left to live,” her doctor warned us.


In the cab on the way to the hospice, my mother-in-law, who had always been a brave woman, squeezed my hand. "I'm scared," she said. 

When we arrived, the doctor suggested we put her on a morphine drip to make her comfortable. My mother-in-law turned to me and asked, "what do you think?"

But I couldn't answer.

The next day, I said, "If the pain is so bad shouldn't you do it?”

She agreed to the morphine. 

Delirium from the cancer and morphine had set in, and soon we couldn’t communicate with her at all.

"The plane...” she said, looking confused and distant. She fell silent. It would be the last thing she ever said to us. We never heard her voice again after that. 


Every day, I picked up my daughter from school and we would travel straight to the hospice together. Feeling suffocated by the looming presence of death, we would walk through the hospice grounds together, taking in all its perfectly kept trees and flowers. It was in these moments that the contrast between life and death was almost tangible. 

In a quiet lounge of the hospice, the ticking of a beautiful clock was heard, my mother-in-law would surely love it On June 27, 2018, just one week after her arrival at the hospice, my mother-in-law took her last breath. 


Consumed by grief, my father-in-law cried whenever we mentioned my mother-in-law, and while sifting through her medical reports, he would blame himself for not having done enough to spot her cancer earlier." He seemed to have been visiting the hospice to see the nurse a few times, hoping he could talk to someone, other than his family, who knew about his wife’s last moments. 

As for my husband, he seemed like he couldn’t accept her illness nor her death.

My daughter however, remained emotionless, never shedding a single tear. 

About six months later, I found my father-in-law organizing old pictures. Then, from the storage room under the stairs, came out a cardboard box that was filled with tons of albums. 

Flipping through the albums, he said, 

“I begged her to marry me.”

Like my father-in-law, I picked up the album and retraced the life of my mother in-law through the album.  

And there, I found hand-written words next to a picture of the two, which was taken when they were first lovers. “YOU AND ME everyday everywhere everytime"

The "you" that was supposed to be with us was no longer there. 

The two figures in the back, sitting on the sofa, have become one, and the two voices we used to hear from downstairs have been replaced by the sound of the TV that echoes all day long.

The orchid she had been growing in the kitchen was in full bloom.


「YOU AND ME everyday everywhere everytime」









































「YOU AND ME everyday everywhere everytime」と義父が手書きで添えているのを見つけた。いつ何時もどこにいても一緒だったはずの「あなた」はもういない。 



Internal Notebook

「Internal Notebook」

In March 2016, the Japanese Academy of Pediatrics announced that they estimated 350 children across the country died due to abuse. According to the Ministry of Health, Education, and Welfare’s tally, roughly 90 children per year die due to abuse, including forced double suicide. So 260 children’s deaths are being overlooked. 


This girl, who experienced violence and abusive speech in the home from the age of 3, is suffering hearing loss as an aftereffect. This boy’s younger brother was killed by their father when he was five, and he continued to suffer physical abuse after that. When this girl was in the second grade, she was left to live alone with only a 10000-Yen note, with no water or electricity supply, and she personally requested help from Child Services.


The men and women  who I met told me : “I wasn’t left with any large, visible scars or bruises. The physical violence and abusive language I experienced for many years, the mental control, the sexual abuse, the negation of my individuality, and the neglect, aren’t visible, but they leave major scars which don’t go away. It’s hard to take, but other people can’t see this pain.” They suffer depression, self-harm, dissociation, panic attacks, PTSD, and other ailments, but one cannot see these injuries unless one actively looks for them. And they have written in notebooks about their hard-to-understand emotional pain.


The “Internal Notebook” is a notebook of the emotional cries of children raised in abusive homes. I have taken portraits of them, along with the diaries and notebooks they have kept.

I have also tried to show what their parents were like by arranging their childhood photographs and important possessions  that evoke memories of those days. It seemed to me that their parents were no different from the rest of us in thinking that we were normal parents.


The people in this book do not only feel hatred and resentment toward their parents. There are those who feel anger at themselves, unchangeable sadness, and even question whether they must forgive their parents as they desperately keep themselves alive. So we can see that the ones who tormented them were not just their parents but other adults in society as well.

「Internal Notebook」





「Internal Notebook」は、虐待を受けて育った子どもたちの内面的な心の叫びのノートである。私は彼、彼女らが綴った日記やノートと共に、現在の肖像を撮影した。また、子供の頃の写真や、当時の記憶を呼び起こす物から親たちの存在を表そうと試みた。しかし、そこから想像出来る親たちの存在は、私達と何も変わらないように思えた。





Quiet...(Work in progress)


This project “Quiet...” investigates child abuse incidents. I visit the scenes of these incidents to photograph them.

This photo project "Quiet..." features child abuse incidents that occurred in an ordinary places, yet invisible.

During the post-war rapid economic growth, Japanese society went through enormous changes. Regional communities collapsed, and the growth of the nuclear family progressed quickly. The traditional networks of interpersonal relationships involving parenting faded away, leading to most of the burdens of child-raising to be borne by the mothers.
A social norm that mothers give up everything, for her children, and to protect them, penetrated widely in Japan.
After giving birth to my own daughter, I felt that I also could be one of those mothers. I still feel uneasy that I would lack “motherhood,” loneliness as a mother, and  helplessness. I despair that I am not capable of properly raise my child.
And then I began to wonder, what the “motherhood” is widely accepted in Japan.

“Quiet...“ is a personal documentary, consists of my research on various child abuse incidents committed by Japanese mothers. For this project, I photograph traces of those abuse cases and the quotidian scenes in my life, where I feel that my "motherhood" lacks, based on a question of this ambiguous concept.


Currently in Japan, every 4 days a child dies due to abusive treatment. 74.5% of those deaths were caused by their own mothers.

In Japan, there is a deep-rooted mythology that when a woman gives birth to children, a mother’s maternal instincts will grow naturally. And a mother would sacrifice anything to protect her child. Therefore, it is “inconceivable” for people that there are mothers who are unable to protect their children.

For every child abuse, most of the commotion involved attacking the mother for her “deficiency of maternal instincts,” or “failure as a mother.” For every child abuse, only mothers are being blamed, that they are lack of motherhood and failure of being good mother. Japanese people view the incidents with curiosity, and easily forget about it. Ordinaly people never pay sincere attention.

The child abuse prevention law was enacted in 2000 finally in Japan.
Until then, the Japanese government never dealt with child abuse cases.

In Japan, both legally and socially, child abuse cases had been ignored.  


Over the course of researching these incidents, I found a common thread conbining them all. Even mothers, who abused or murdered their children, were at one time working hard to raise them. But then they were triggered by something to descend into abuse and neglect. Or, there were times that the mothers herselves called for help, but those signs were missed or overlooked.

One mother who neglected her 2 children at home for 50 days and let them starve to death, had herself suffered a near-death experience of neglect as a child. Her cries for help were ignored, and she testified herself at her trial “I felt what we went through were treated as if they had never happened.”

These incidents are entwined with complicated issues that cannot be simply explained away as a “deficiency in maternal instincts.”

The crime scenes where abuses have occurred appear to be nothing special. Everyday, normal life flows through as usual. It is as if they are symbolizing the fact that these incidents could occur to anyone, any mother. Furthermore, most people should have had an opportunity to detect the SOS signals displayed by the mothers or children. The reality that no one attempted to see what was happening, is thrust into our faces.


After researching these abuse cases, I reconstruct the incidents as images that they evoke.

I visualize the cries of these mothers, who committed “inconceivable” acts which are then swept away as “non-existent.” I do this because I want to urge society to acknowledge and confront the problems between a mother and her children, and the problems within families. If there is such a word as “motherhood,” then it should be applied not just to mothers, but to all of society. Our entire society must undergo changes, accept and support all families, children, mothers, and especially individuals.


“Quiet...“ realizes overlooked evidences, the atmosphere of the child abuse scenes, circumstances of mothers and the SOS signs from the children, etc.

In addition to these elements, I create images of my own darkness within I feel as a mother.

This project “Quiet...“ questions a viewer what the “motherhood” is.



































The Path Of Million Pens

「The Path Of Million Pens」

When I got married, my surname changed.
 And when I gave birth, I was referred to only as "Mama." Who was I?
Searching for my true self, I pulled out a picture album from my childhood that was stashed in a cardboard box.
As I turned the pages, I felt my memory coming back to me.
 I also found albums that belonged to my mother and grandmother.
The episodes come together and became a family history.
This family history was a proof of my existence.

「The Path Of Million Pens」


Jewels   /   ホウセキ


   When my daughter was sleeping, it was my daily routine to make sure that she was breathing.The fear of loosing her has haunted me persistently. I experienced the bleeding on the eighth week of my pregnancy, was hospitalized for three times, and was strapped to bed for ten months and she was delivered by Caesarean section. I haven’t seen the umbilical cord that connected me to my daughter.

 At the age of three,she grew to be eighty-seven centimeters tall and thirteen and half kilograms in weight. My arms were not strong enough to hold her, so I let her run freely. I was watching her every steps, worried that she might fall and get hurt. After a while, I realized that I am at my daughter's eye level. Seeing how ordinary things to me as an adult with a height of one hundred fifty-five centimeters were many “jewels” in the eyes of eighty-seven centimeters tall.

  On every occasion,I took photos of her “jewels”,and I felt a strong connection with my daughter.More I shoot photos to connect with her; it's getting stronger, more colorful, and reveals itself - my daughter and I are different personality.

 She is three years and eight month old now, and she calls shiny or
beautiful important items,“jewels.” -for me,she is a “jewel”.







   身長87cm 体重13.5kg










Teck-mac-mah-ya-con  /  テクマクマヤコン


Teck-mac-mah-ya-con ʺ is a magical spell. If you say these magic words when opening a compact powder box, you can become anything you want.When I was 6, I opened up my mother's powder box and put on lipstick. It was more red than I imagined. Surprised, I put the cap back on quickly.
The tip broke off.The things I felt when this happened all comes back to me when I look at my five year old daughter's nervous expressions or actions.Soon enough, my daughter will open my powder box. She will fly away from my hands someday. Just like magic, she will become anything she wants to be.And my mother, who definitely noticed the broken lipstick, never mentioned anything about it to me.



コンパクトを開いて唱えると何にでも変身することができる。 6歳の頃、母のコンパクトを開き口紅をつけたことがある。

The back page revisited

The back page revisited

All three stories which I chose to investigate involved mothers who lost their children.Ironically one of them died trying to save the children, while others killed their children and are still alive.
Being a mother of 4 years old daughter, I experienced severe anxiety staying in hospital during my pregnancy. After giving birth, my mammary gland burst and I had terrible pain. Although I suffered a lot my body and mind adapted naturally to become a mother. ‘’Maternal instinct’’ is a word commonly used by people.
We may say that not every woman has it, but I suppose all mothers experience physical and mental changes as a part of natural process? I wonder, what if lack of maternal instinct isn’t the reason, maybe other underlying issues may lead mothers to kill or abandon their own children. Yokohama US aircraft crash case, involving both nations, is very different to other two stories,
but I think that Japanese society and its internal problems, played significant role in all of these incidents.


The back page revisited


Yokohama US military aircraft crash      横浜米軍機墜落事故

On 27th September 1977, US military aircraft left Atsugi base, just after 13:00 one of its engines failed and fire broke out. Two crew members managed to escape the aircraft, before it crashed into residential area near Aobadai Eda-Kita 3 cho-me Ooiri Kouen park. 20 houses were burnt and completely or partially destroyed. As a result of the accident two people died and seven were injured.
Those who didn’t survive were two boys aged 3 and 1. Their mother, seriously injured, didn’t know about their death until 1 year after the catastrophe. She also died due to psychogenic dyspnoea (hyperventilation)
on 26th January 1982.In 1985, Statue of “Mother and Children of Love,’’resembling the victims was built in France region of
Minato-no-mieru-oka-kouen (Harbour View Park). Memorial was funded by their bereaved family and donated to Yokohama city. The inscription about the incident was added in 2006.


Baby remains found in coin locker in Kita-Shinjuku / 北新宿コインロッカー乳児遺体遺棄

At about 10:30 on 9th September 2008 in 3 Kita-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo,
remains of a baby boy were found in a 200 yen coin locker.
Staff, of the company managing the lockers, opened unpaid locker
and found the naked body in a paper bag.
Post mortem examination revealed that boy died more than 10 days earlier.
The coin locker was dismantled on 6th October 2008.


Discovery of a newborn’s body at Zama city baseball   /  座間市野球場乳児遺体遺棄

On 14th July 2013 at 11:10, corpse of newborn boy was found in Shindenjuku recreational grounds in Shindenjuku,
Zama city, Kanagawa prefecture. On that day, baseball city tournament was taking place in the area. A junior high school student found unnaturally disturbed soil outside the 3rd fence and dug out right leg of the baby. Boy showed the discovery to his teacher, who called the police.
The baby boy was about 50cm tall, and had umbilical cord twisted
around his neck.On 15th July, a 17 years old woman, living and working part-time in the city, reported to Zama local police.
She confessed that, on night of 7th July, she gave birth to the baby in a bathroom of house where she lived with her mother.
Autopsy results confirmed that the baby was stillborn.

2013年7月14日11:10頃 神奈川県座間市新田宿にある市立新田宿グラウンドにて生まれてまもない男の乳児の遺体が発見された。

To be called Mama

「To be called Mama

I have a daughter who is four years and ten months old.
She calls me “Mama” many times a day.
Whenever she calls me Mama, I respond to her. My response is not always nice.
Despite that, she keeps calling me “Mama.”
Such a minute thing makes me realize that I am a mother.
At the same time, I realize that my own name is fading away.
  I feel as if I am being forced to live like a mother;
and now feel obliged to be one.
 My life now revolves around my daughter.
As the days go by, my daughter is slowly becoming, and as I become a Mama, I loose my femininity. 
While I play the part of Mama, I sometimes fantasize that I am my daughter.
  When I get that feeling, I take photographs of her.
That’s when I see the woman in her and feel jealous and envious of her. I then realize that the meaning of my existence is to be nothing but a caretaker.
  I then realize in the pictures those Mama’s eyes that I wanted to escape.


「To be called Mama