Once Rabbit Island was a secret test site for chemical weapons, now it’s ruled by rabbits. ‘Rabbits abandon their children’ is a Japanese proverb for irresponsible behaviour. Photographer Yoshikatsu Fujii grew up in Hiroshima, the city that was hit by an atomic bomb in ‘45, and points out the dark chapters of Japan’s military history.
Hiroshima Graph – Rabbits abandon their children
Whenever the train passed Rabbit Island, curtains closed immediately. Starting in 1925, chemical weapons were secretly tested on this Japanese Island in Hiroshima prefecture. The local population was ignorant or forced to keep quiet; even though the toxins made people sick. After the Second World War, all proof was destroyed. The government just didn’t talk about it anymore.
The island is now a popular tourist attraction, but the past is still visible. The progeny of the rabbits that were once used for testing poisonous gases, are walking around fearlessly. They have no natural enemies. Yoshikatsu Fujii (Japan, 1979) refers to them in the title of his book: ‘rabbits abandon their children’ is a Japanese proverb about irresponsible behaviour. On Rabbit Island that mostly held true for the government.
Fujii grew up in Hiroshima, the city that was hit by an atomic bomb in 1945. He wants to commemorate these dark chapters of Japanese military history. The book was awarded The Anamorphosis Prize 2017 for self-published photobooks.