Japan, Land of Immigrants? Through the Camera Lenses of Camille Millerand

For the past few weeks, my favorite daily e-mail digest comes from L'Oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography) which covers in French and English the photography scene around the world from books to exhibits and special projects.

Yesterday's menu led me to discover the work of Camille Millerand and a topic for today's Tokyo Thursdays in Japan, Land of Immigrants? (Le Japon, pays d'immigration?).

Ibrahim japan

I was aware of the presence in Japan of numerous Korean and Brazilian immigrants but less so of Africans like Ibrahim Diarra who came to Japan from Mali 10 years ago (above) and Peruvian natives.

Here's how Ibrahim Diarra describes his experience to Camille and Camille shares his approach to project in the Oeil de la Photographie piece:

« The Japanese wants you to embody him. He wants you to think Japanese, eat Japanese, speak Japanese… If you don’t do this, you will be rejected, you will suffer », confides Ibrahim Diarra, sixty years old Malian  encountered at a crossroad of Shin-Okubo,an area of the Japanese capital, built around Korean shops. He has  been living in Tokyo for 10 years . Today They are  almost 2 millions to share with Ibrahim Diarra the status of foreign resident in Japan. Approximately 2% of the total population. The majority of them are Chinese, Korean, Brasilian or Phillipino…. Even if the issue of immigration doesn’t occupy the media and political space as in Europe, it is there rampant and almost taboo…In may 2013, I walked the street of Tokyo for 10 days, in  search of long term migrants ."

Pastor watanabe

Pastor Watanabe Hidetoshi (above) for the past 20 years has devoted his time to help immigrant workers. To accomplish that, he co-founded non-profit Kalabaw-no-kai located in Kotobuki, a working class neighborhood of Yokohama. 

Culture clash for Tokyo Thursdays # 271

Previously: Take Nihonbashi Tour with Yukari Sakamoto of Food Sake Tokyo on November 1st

(* Photos © Camille Millerand. He was kind enough to let me share them)

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