Kenshichi Heshiki

Kenshichi Heshiki was born in 1948 in Nakijinson in Okinawa. He documented the life and the culture of the habitants in the Ryukyu Islands from the sixties. Through his heartwarming images, filled with sorrow and kindness, we can also understand the social history of Okinawa, such as life during America’s occupation. He received the Nobuo Ina award in 2008. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (Texas, US) acquired some of his photographs.

 

In the 1996 Heshiki self-published and therefore honoured 'The Woman who saved Okinawa', showing sincere photographs made in the 1970's in his hometown Okinawa. The behind-the-scene photograhs are an offering of respect to women that entertained men, including American soliders, during and after the Second World War, resorting to prostitution to survive the unsteady economy in Okinawa that remained a military base for America. These women were not strangers to Heshiki who grew up in this harsh post war period in which his farther often took him to the bars where the women worked. Because of this unusually early exposure to prostitutes, we have photographs that give permission to be seen that perhaps would not have been granted otherwise.