From the research process: Pictures above were taken at COVID-19 Care facility in May and July 2020. More than 100 patients stayed in this hotel Since April 2020. Because of discrimination against the COVID-19 patients, no one appeared to the media. I was allowed to shoot the picture of the rooms where they stayed.
COVID-19 "Silent Pain" by Kazuma Obara
*This online exhibition is a portfolio of ongoing project "Silent Pain".
This project documents the human story of the unseen essential workers and patients of COVID-19 in Japan. Since the pandemic, people's fear of infection has led to discrimination against those fighting for our safety and are most vulnerable to the threat of infection. Many health care workers quit their jobs from the anxiety of said discrimination. Some infected patients faced difficulty returning home after recovering and were forced to relocate. Now, many are left stigmatised and forced into silence to avoid problems, despite the mental toll and support they need from society.
The Japanese press has focused primarily on the number of infected people, but the stories of people who make up that number are rarely told. This lack of real human stories has led to miscommunication within communities and created a divide between those on the frontline and those who are not.
Using still images and video, I will record the voices and capture the humanity in Horikawa Hospital, one of the iconic hospitals fighting COVID-19 that became a target of discrimination within its region. Through their story, exists the opportunity to understand the voice and humanity of people fighting on the frontlines and re-unite the people of their community. As pandemic histories show, viruses bring about various discrimination. I hope the project fosters inter-community understanding and solidarity, not only in Japan but also in the other regions across the world.
I have documented nurses and patients in Kyoto, Japan. According to a survey by one of hospitals in Kyoto, 60 percent of healthcare workers in the hospital experienced serious discrimination after news of the infection. Until now, no one has been revealed to the media.
With support from local nurses and associations that care for mental disability patients, my research began from May 2020.