Around the world in 102 days
From December 2012 until March 2013 I joined the Japanese NGO Peace Boat as a photographer and web reporter on its 78th voyage around the world, from Yokohama to Yokohama. We crossed the Chinese Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic and the Pacific, passing places whose names alone evoke all kinds of fantasies:
But Peace Boat’s main idea is not cruising around the world: The organization was founded in the 1970ies by student activists of Tokyo’s Waseda University. Their goal was to accomplish what the Japanese government was reluctant to do: to acknowledge war crimes committed in countries like China, Taiwan and South Korea and foster peace and reconciliation. As this didn’t seem to happen on the government level, the students wanted to bring the civil societies of Japan and its neighboring countries together themselves. For this endeavor, they needed a politically neutral space: the ocean.
Furthermore Peace Boat is at the roots of the Japanese anti-nuclear movement, lobbying for the phasing-out of nuclear power and providing aid to the people affected in the Fukushima area. On many voyages Peace Boat takes survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Hibakusha) on board to give testimony and meet anti-nuke activists from around the world. Together with its partner NGOs in the different ports, the organization advocates for these topics as well as for human rights and sustainability. Peace Boat has a Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is a partner organization of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.
My photos show among others encounters with Gandhi’s descendants in Durban, the Abuelas y Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, former street children in Peru and anti-nuke activists in Polynesia.