Luc Wittebol

Fudai, Iwate prefecture

“I never think about Wabi Sabi" 


The consequences of the 2011 tsunami in Japan caused not only physical damage, but also had an effect on the psyche of the people living in the north-eastern area of Tōhoku. In addition to rebuilding their homes, the Japanese people are taking preventive measures by fortifying their towns. Walls made of concrete and rise up to 12 meters high are supposed to protect the inhabitants against future natural disasters. Even if that means separating themselves from nature. Japanese culture is known for its harmonious relationship with nature. This aspect can found in the traditional Japanese aesthetic called ‘Wabi Sabi’. Due to language- and culture barriers between the east and west, this term is rather hard to define. Western interpretations will include “the beauty of imperfection” and “accepting transience”, though usually leave out the relationship between man and nature.

Luc Wittebol investigates the choices as a result of fear and the changing, possibly westernising Japanese culture. A shift in mindset that led to a controversial intervention on nature.

Kadonohama Bay, Iwate prefecture

Ofunato, Iwate prefecture

Fudai, Iwate prefecture

Near Otomo, Iwate

Near Otomo, Iwate prefecture

Miracle Pine, Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture

Sanriku, Iwate prefecture

Sanriku, Iwate prefecture

Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture

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