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Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert October 29, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan.

Anti-nuclear protest. Tokyo, Japan 2011

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert (b. 1969, Scotland) received the gift of a camera on his 13th birthday. A few years later he subsequently became a UK based freelance photographer for editorial, corporate and NGO clients. His work has appeared in TIME, National Geographic, Italian Geo, Le Figaro, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, and many others. For the past 12 years Jeremy has been one of the principal photographers for Greenpeace International. For the past nine  years he was based in Tokyo but has recently relocated to Scotland. His assignments have taken him to over 40 countries and his personal and commissioned work has been widely published and exhibited in Europe, USA, and beyond. Jeremy is one of the three founding members of Document Scotland, a collective aimed at promoting documentary photography within Scotland.

About the Photograph:

“It was another anti-nuclear protest in Tokyo against TEPCO- the owners of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant which suffered multiple explosions and meltdowns in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The TEPCO plant operators  had through various investigations, panels and inquiries, been found to have been negligent in their disaster response and as such the nuclear disaster was put down to being a man made catastrophe and not a direct result of the earthquake or tsunami, although they obviously played their part. The anti-nuclear demonstrations were frequent in Tokyo at this time but sadly were usually small in number of participants, but I attended as many as I could, to show my support but also to continue documenting what I thought was still an important story. The nuclear legacy of the Fukushima disaster will remain for a long time, and it was important that the protests be seen and heard.”

“Many of the demonstrations were small, and not overly photogenic affairs, but this one day, in the Koenji area of the capital, the protest turned out to be something quite different and unique. Koenji is an area known for it’s hippy tendencies, and the protest itself turned into some sort of dream like sequence. As the demonstration left the park to begin it’s meanderings through the streets incredibly heavy rain and wind appeared from nowhere, and the rain fell in visible sheets as belly dancers in the protest shimmied their bejewelled bodies beside stern faced drenched policemen. I ran for cover, fearing for my equipment in the downpour. But the protestors did not falter, all through the streets they danced and shouted their anti-nuclear slogans. The cast of characters taking part was huge— there were the belly dancers, some Butoh dancing girls in their bikinis, clowns, a Mexican sombrero-clad man, koi carp and dragons, and families. It felt like being a character in a Bob Dylan song. And, as the protest entered a small park, where it was due to end, there in the middle of bystanders and participants was a yellow-masked mudman. But somehow he wasn’t out of place, no-one paid him any attention, just another Koenji anti-nuclear and anti-TEPCO protestor doing his thing.”