Fukushima Samurai – The Story of Identity is a powerful series by photographer Noriko Takasugi that features portraits of Japanese men upholding a 1,000-year-old samurai tradition. Back in 2011, when the cataclysmic earthquake and tsunami hit Fukushima Prefecture, many people lost their homes and were forced to abandon their city, but as proven by these strong men, they did not lose their historical heritage or sense of culture.
Takasugi documents brave men who have opted to head back into the contaminated areas only a few months after the devastating disaster to maintain their annual celebration of samurai culture at the Soma Nomaoi festival. Takasugi says, “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.”