Japanese Photographer Connects Fukushima with Hawai‘i Through Her Love of Bon Dance

Kristen Nemoto Jay
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

From now through Aug. 17, Japanese photographer Ai Iwane’s photo exhibits — “Island in My Mind, Fukushima” and “Fukushima Ondo” — are on display at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery.

The Tökyö-born Iwane is known for her ability to inspire viewers by observing and documenting niche communities from around the world. Her work has been featured in such magazines as GQ Japan, Rolling Stone Japan and Forbes Japan.

Iwane’s inspiration for “Island in My Mind, Fukushima” and “Fukushima Ondo” began with her visits to Maui and Fukushima from 2011 through 2017. It connects the two parts of the world through ancestry, similarities in culture and remembrance. During her visits, Iwane developed a fascination with Hawai‘i’s bon dance festivals, which she attended for the first time in 2006. In the summer of 2011, Iwane attended Lahaina Jodo Mission’s bon dance.

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