Yoneda’s Japanese House (2010) series of photographs depicts buildings constructed in Taiwan during the period of Japanese occupation, between 1895 and 1945. Yoneda focuses both on the original Japanese features of the houses and on details that have been altered since the end of the occupation. The yet-to-be acknowledged history of the occupation of Taiwan and other East Asian countries by Japan during World War II is subtly disclosed in these pictures.
Photography is Tomoko Yoneda’s primary medium. Influenced by both journalism and archaeology, the London-based artist tries to minimize subjectivity in her work and keep her subjects as real and open as possible, leaving space for interpretation by the viewer. Often the sites she documents appears insignificant and nondescript, lacking any visual references that might trigger direct associations with historical events. Their lengthy titles, however, reveal the identities of the places by providing historical and political context. The haunted feeling generated by the emptiness of the locations evokes unsettled spirits of the past, and seems to invite a moment’s reflection.