Emonogatari: This is Our Story

Emonogatari (picture stories in Japanese) is a visual art project with narratives rewritten from memories, texts, letters and old photographs from WWII. By exploring witnesses’ voices and their old family albums, each story was excavated through interviews with the aid of young collaborators whom ultimately asked to have their age old family memories revived as their own autobiographical stories. The goal of this project lies in each process of transitions such as stories getting passed down to younger generations through letting stories transformed over a thin line of fact and fiction. Their narrative and correlated landscapes become a newly revised visual history.


It started with my grandfather, Takeshi Onoda’s story whose elder brother Kisaku, who went missing in action during his service for the Imperial Japanese army during the WWII. I hardly knew anything about him; not even his name until I embarked on this project. Many stories remain untold. I started listening to my grandfather till I moved to India where I decided to continue exploring other people's stories during my fellowship.

It was December of 2014 when my grandfather passed away. His funeral was taken place in a fair, chilly day with a clear view of the Mount Fuji. I couldn't make it for his last moment of life. It was when I learnt a small story about him from my mother: when he was nineteen, he claimed to have seen his elder brother Kisaku coming to see him to tell of his own death. His beloved brother's last word was 'Take care of the family'.

Being struck by this story, I witnessed a story got unfolded and passed down in front of me. That experience compelled me to work this collaborative project to see collected stories explored, re-narrated, and remembered as our own stories.


I am much grateful to all the collaborators, contributors, coordinators, as well as following institutes and funds which supported the project: The Agency for Cultural Affairs, The Government of Japan, The Japan Foundation, Nomura Foundation, National Institute of Design India (NID), & 2nd World War Imphal Campaign Foundation.

The project has been executed in Japan & India since 2012, which consists of photographs, old photographs, texts, letters, maps, audio, video & self-published books.

If you would have a family story or old photographs which are related to the WWII to tell, please feel very free to add your story to this project. shiho[at]shihokito.com (Please replace [at] to @)
文化庁 | 国際交流基金 | 公益財団法人野村財団 | インド国立デザイン大学 (NID) | 第二次世界大戦インパールキャンペーン財団


戦争にまつわる家族の物語や古い写真をお持ちの方、ぜひ下記メールアドレスまでご連絡ください。shiho[at]shihokito.com ([at]を@に置き直してください)