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On March 11,2011, Japan was hit with a catastrophic 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Over 300,000 lives were changed forever after the earthquake triggered multiple fires, landslides, tsunami and the meltdown of fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant.
I paint this event in memory and honor of those who lost their lives, livelihood and the courageous few who are still attempting to clean up the nuclear power plant to this day. This painting project was started on May 2nd, 2011 and was completed on March 24th, 2012. The following images in the gallery displays the progression of the series, from its initial study to the 30 feet scroll, to the compact version of the original idea and the reproductions that were produced for fundraising to assist the survivors in Japan.
Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾 北斎) played a heavy influence on this series.
A review from Dr. Elizabeth K. Mix of Butler University, October, 2013:
“Jave Yoshimoto’s works reveal their inspiration in the eighteenth century woodblock prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai easily, but rather than bucolic scenes focus on the terror of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. Harbinger of late winter day’s dusk features fires that were precipitated by the quake, the resulting tsunami coming ashore, and the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Featured in the composition is the crane, symbol of longevity and luck, and the koi, symbol of the ability to survive adverse conditions, but most prominent perhaps is the appearance of Godzilla, which the artist uses as a personal symbol, but is also relevant here because of the monster’s birth from the toxic circumstances of the Hiroshima bomb- a condition replicated with Fukushima Daiichi. Narration on the tsunami debris from Japan washing up on the NW shore of U.S. moves the narrative of destruction to Seattle, whose skyline and famous Mount Rainier, ferry, and local symbolic animals the orca (or “killer whale,” the subject of sightseeing trips in Puget Sound) and the osprey (or “Seahawk,” as it is called) are featured as equivalents to the koi and crane in the first work. Godzilla can be found in the waves as if he is coming ashore with the debris. Yoshimoto states that it’s not just the natural disaster that creates the terror, it’s how “each tragedy in the news cycle is swept away by the wave of information that floods the media” creating a “social amnesia” that is as scary as the disaster.”