One fine day in the middle of the night, the head of the Tonomura household in Kobe informed his wife and two grown-up daughters that he was in debt to the tune of more than 10 million yen.
There was nothing in their coffers even remotely approaching that amount.
And to compound the crisis, pater familias absolutely refused to explain why.
First, scrabble around for all those notes carefully conserved here and there in drawers and high in cupboards.
Then bite the bullet and realize that the only way out is to sell the family home and go rental. It was nothing short of a family jishin — but it was an earthquake that elder daughter and photographer (and Japan Times reader) Hideka was on hand to document with her camera.
The result is a vivid insight into the kind of human drama being played out day-in, day-out, all around . . . but for the most part unrecorded.