It is hard to believe that it has been two years since Mr. Hata died.
I first met Mr. Hata in the autumn of 2016 while working on my documentary "Dying at Home", and over the six months that followed, I formed a deep friendship with him and his wife. During the time I spent with Mr. Hata, I learned so much about family, love and loss, and I shared one of these lessons with the world via Twitter when just weeks before he died Mr. Hata reunited with the son he had not seen in 30 years.
I first published that story with photographs live on Twitter as the father and son reunited and then archived it a few days later on Storify with the title "Mr. Hata and T: a father and a son: a dying father reunites with his son after thirty years" (BLOG). I then published two follow-up stories, one when Mr. Hata died three weeks later (BLOG) and then when he was buried (BLOG). A few months later I was invited to write the cover story for the December issue of Number 1 Shimbun, the magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (READ), where I was able to more objectively reflect on the experience of documenting such an intimate and personal story in real time. To mark the first year after his death, I published Mr. Hata's story in Japanese (BLOG).
This weekend will be the 2nd anniversary of Mr. Hata's death, and I am traveling to Fukushima today to attend the ceremony and visit his grave where I will remember all of the important lessons I learned and which continue to influence me.
Recently I learned that Storify will discontinue its service. As I hope the story of Mr. Hata will be able to continue affecting and moving people, I have added a page on my website where these photodocumentaries will be archived. The first three (all about Mr. Hata + the first one in Japanese) can now be found under the PHOTO DOC tab (HERE), where I plan to publish more when the right story calls out to be told in this format.