Akiko Mizuno, 50, is a photographer living on Taketomi Island, part of the outlying Yaeyama island chain in Okinawa. She graduated from New York City’s School of Visual Arts in 1996 and began working as a freelancer the following year. Since 1999, Mizuno has been living on Taketomi and photographing its residents as part of her long-term project, “Islanders.”

1. How did you end up living on Taketomi? My grandfather on my mother’s side is from Okinawa. I wanted to see my roots. I came to Taketomi during the festival season and enjoyed it, so I canceled my flight (home) and stayed for a month.

2. Where were you living at the time? I was living in New York.