Kosuke Okahara July 8, 2008Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
Abandoned Leprosy Village. China, 2007
Born in 1980, Kosuke Okahara began his professional career at age 23, after his college graduation. Since the beginning of his career, he has been devoting himself to the theme of “Ibasyo” which refers, in Japanese, to “People’s physical and emotional space where they can exist”, or “Inner-peace of the people.” His recent work deals with people who are involved in illegal activities at the bottom of society in Colombia, and young Japanese people who are struggling with self-injury. He has covered stories in Asia, Africa, and South America. His works have been published in TIME.com, Newsweek Japan, PHOTO, AERA, Playboy Japan, Photografica, ASAHI Camera, among others. His photos have also been exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Nikon Gallery, Tokyo, and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand. He is a member photographer of Agence VU.
About the Photograph:
“This is a photo story of the daily life of former leprosy patients who exist in the shade of China’s recent economic boom. Though leprosy is an old disease that is 100% curable by medicines, there are over 600 leprosy villages in southern provinces of China housing over 40,000 ex-leprosy patients. In the villages, some people remain disabled but they are not effected by leprosy anymore. When multi-drug therapy became available in China in the 80′s, people recovered from the disease. However, these people still live in villages isolated in remote areas because of the long-lasting discrimination against the the disease. In many villages people do not have an access to clean water and electricity, and live in very difficult conditions. They earn between nothing and $50 per month from the government. Like the poor farming villages they remain outside of China’s recent visable economic growth.”