Location: Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
Skinship is a Japanese word that sounds like English. It describes the skin-to-skin relationship between a mother and a child or family. Moreover, breastfeeding, cuddling, co-bathing and co-sleeping, anything that build intimacy relate to skinship. Through an experience of loving touch, a child learns caring for others. Japanese skinship is considered to be important for strengthening the bond of family and also for the child’s healthy development.
Because the idea of skinship was perfectly natural to me as Japanese, only after I was arrested in New York because of family snapshots of skinship, did I realize how unique and shocking it could be in other cultural contexts. Living in both Japan and America showed me a cultural comparison and paradox clearly.
In Japan, I gave birth to my son in 2012 and started making self-portraits, somehow, in the chaos of everyday life flying by. There seemed no boundary between our bodies, a symbiotic union. Photographing my son growing up and enjoying skinship also enabled healing my old wound.