Art And Culture

Japan Honors Iranian Photographer

Japan Honors Iranian PhotographerJapan Honors Iranian Photographer

The Iranian New Year (Norouz) was celebrated during a ceremony at ‘Akasaka Community Place’ in Tokyo on March 22.

The traditional Iranian festival of spring was organized by the Iranian Embassy in Japan, presenting various programs to the audience that included Japanese officials and Iranian expatriates, IRNA reported.

The ceremony began with Persian New Year special prayer and then a short documentary video on traditional celebrations and customs of Iranians during the Norouz holidays, by Japan-based Iranian photojournalist Afshin Valinejad.

Valinejad, who has done his best to bring relief aid and a smile to the people in Japan’s devastated northeast when it was hit in March 2011 by a killer tsunami, was further introduced.

Taking the podium, he said: “I’m honored to have been useful for the victims of Japan’s 2011 tragedy and grateful to those who expand love among people. It was also love of my homeland, Iran, which drove me to record its beauty. It is a pleasure to share this adventure with you.”

Active as a freelance journalist, Valinejad has dedicated a long time on capturing events in Japan. He has been running a one-man relief operation that would leave even the most earnest of volunteers in awe.

His mission has taken him on a 14,000-kilometer odyssey through clouds of radiation-laden air, over blizzard-stricken mountains and along deserted highways. However, over 400,000 documentary photos and an enthusiastic audience is the fruit of his efforts.

According to a report by CNN, Valinejad admits he cannot reach everyone. But the way he sees it, if he succeeds making even a handful of people happy, it is mission accomplished.

“I am only the porter,” he says. “But I am honored to be able to deliver gifts from one person to another, to be the messenger of love.”

Valinejad held his first photo exhibition in Japan nine months after the great tsunami (November 2011), while NHK World news broadcast (Japan’s international broadcasting channel) provided a comprehensive report of his exhibition.

The photographer was conferred a commendation plaque by Iranian ambassador to Japan, Reza Nazarahari and Iran’s cultural attaché, Farhad Palizdar, as a tribute to his untiring efforts.

The ceremony ended with a music performance by Lian Band from Iran’s Bushehr Province, led by Mohsen Sharifian.

The group dedicated their performance to the victims of chemical attacks across the world, delivering a message of peace, friendship and harmony.

Of interest to the Japanese audience was the name of music band, ‘Lian’ that literally means ‘land of shining sun’, which is synonymous with the meaning of ‘Japan’.