What is your favorite family activity? A family trip to a foreign country? To join a family meditation session? Or something as simple as a family dinner? The Japanese photographer Masashi Asada has rather unusual ideas when it comes to family pastimes — he would love to fight fire with his family, to start a family band, to team up with his family members for a football game, or to become superheroes together. As impossible as they might seem, these dreams are realized through photography.
It was once a Japanese tradition to send new year cards with their family portraits as the cover design to friends and relatives. The Asada family continues to do so, although this tradition is no longer popular nowadays. Masashi Asada, the younger son of the family, embraces this family tradition. He decided to turn this into a memorable annual event of the family by making interestingly staged family portraits. The compilation of the photography, Asadake, even won the Kimura Ihei Award in 2008.
After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Asada visited the area as a volunteer. During his days in the Tōhoku region, he found a lot of family portraits in the mud. Family portraits may have no value to people outside of the family, but to the family in the face of adverse situations, these memorable portraits are irreplaceable treasures. Seeing the importance of these photographs, Asada decided to clean them up and send them back to their original owners, in the hope that the pictures could provide positive energy to the affected families.
Asadake, a movie based on Asada’s story, will soon be shown in cinemas. Also in this year, Asada will have a solo exhibition in the Kanaz Forest of Creation art gallery in the Fukui Prefecture. Apart from his photography, visitors can also see the documentation of how Asada cleaned up the family portraits he found in the post-earthquake Tōhoku region. The exhibition will be open to the public from January 25 until March 8.