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Back in 2011 when photographer Akihito Yoshida visited his cousin living in a small rural town in Miyazaki prefecture, he discovered a very special relationship. The younger cousin, born in 1990, was living with and caring for his Grandmother, born in 1928. With over 60 years between them, they had done everything together. The grandmother had been there for every important day. “I grew up basking in the love of my grandmother, so it’s only normal that I care for her until her death,” the cousin told Yoshida.
Yoshida snapped a few pictures of the unusual pair and when he got home and was looking over them he was struck by an odd sensation. “Photographs have this special quality – like a filter – that allows us to objectively view things in new light that we may have gotten used to seeing,” said Yoshida in an interview. And it was around this time that he started taking periodic trips up to see the couple and photograph them.
“Images of the two holding hands while shopping in the supermarket, seeing one another off when one went out, watching until the other is out of sight, eating and sleeping together” – Yoshida decided that he would document this relationship until the grandmother passed away: an end that didn’t seem too far away. But fate would have different plans for the cousin, the grandmother and Yoshida’s photo-documentation.