Ibasyo project have been published as a multimedia piece on Asia Society website.
2005 – 2008
A little after midnight, my cell phone rang as usual.
“I cut myself again… But I’m okay…”
Sayuri’s voice coming from the phone didn’t sound okay at all.
“You know, I was raped by a relative… I don’t feel like I’m worthy of anything since then. Lots of people told me, over and over, that I should love myself, but I don’t know how to love someone so dirty like me.”
Her quiet voice changed into a sob. After a while, she spoke again.
“Sorry, I’m okay… I’ll go to work tomorrow.”
Domestic violence, rape, bullying; these are some of the reasons behind self-injury. For better or worse, the “culture of shame” inherent in Japan has prevented them from being revealed. Domestic violence seems to be happening in many families, and rape is quite commonplace, yet the victims choose to remain silent. Deep emotional wounds have taken away self-esteem from the girls I met. Since they are unable to live a normal exercise due to depression and panic attack disorders, they cannot appreciate their own value and come to believe that they are worthless. For them, harming themselves eases their anxiety and relieves their stress since it is a form of self-punishment for “being worthless”, and such behavior that denies their existence became the way to reaffirm their own existence. But when they see their scars, they despise themselves for “doing what they shouldn’t do.” In such an endless loop, just like the Möbius strip, it is difficult for them to feel their “Ibasyo”. They don’t think of justifying their acts. However, their existence implies one of the dark aspects of today’s Japanese society.