What was the most unexpected moment in your journeys?
The most unexpected moment in my underwater photography journey was the very first time I jumped off the boat to photograph the humpback whales in Tonga. Being the first time, I did not expect to encounter such a huge group, a group so large that later the locals called it the biggest Heat Run they ever saw (where a group of male humpback whales race each other chasing a single female to prove their worth). I was not expecting the sheer intensity of the moment, which made me freeze and just watch the event, I didn’t end up capturing any of it.
What is your favorite photo project so far?
My favorite photo project so far was my series of humpback whales in Tahiti, Moorea. Instead of just photographing whales, I wanted the project to put light on a controversial topic surrounding the issue of Japanese whaling. This topic is quite sensitive for me as a Japanese underwater photographer, and I wanted my images to show the people of Japan that whilst it’s important to hear both sides of the story, we mustn’t forget that the animals need to be heard and respected too, especially in the ocean where it is their home, not ours. In this series, I explore the beauty of life, forgiveness, and the power of positive change. Using images of humpback whales as a symbol of hope, as a testament to human compassion and love, and the courage to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes.