Out of sight, by Delphine Parodi & Yoko Tawada

Help funding the publishing of the book "Out of Sight", a photo-text dialogue between Yoko Tawada’s poems and Delphine Parodi’s photographs

Project visual Out of sight, by Delphine Parodi & Yoko Tawada
End date
Out of €4,500
219 %

Out of sight, by Delphine Parodi & Yoko Tawada

In Fukushima. August 2013

“Opening three cans: his daily task.
A ceremony at the beach.
The fresh fish is contaminated,
said the wind swiftly and eloquently.
Who is smiling so mutely on the label?
A Siamese cat, who vanished,
on that day into the bright glare.”

Yoko Tawada
Translated from German by Bettina Brandt

Having lived in Japan since 2010, Delphine Parodi visits Fukushima for the first time in the summer of 2012. Over a period of seven years she returns frequently, both in the 20 kilometres evacuation zone around the nuclear plant and in the larger Fukushima Prefecture.
taking photographs, listening and collecting the testimonies of the evacuees and of the inhabitants of the region. Her photographs, taken exclusively with a medium-format film camera, are presented as diptychs. They combine intimate landscapes, often unfathomable – rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, crossroads, isolated benches – and portraits of the inhabitants. A dialogue from which emanates the feeling of the relationship between the people and their environment, as well as the importance of individual memory.

Japanese novelist and poet Yoko Tawada, based in Germany, had also started to write in the wake of the catastrophe. Delphine Parodi and Yoko Tawada met in Berlin in December 2012. They were moved by the deep resonances arising between both their voices, so much that they decided to join them. In Fukushima in August 2013, Yoko Tawada meets the very people whom Delphine Parodi had previously photographed. During the same month she wrote 24 poems in German, later translated by herself into Japanese, her mother tongue. They were then translated into French and English by her regular literary translators. These poems draw from Japanese tradition as well as from a very contemporary language, inspired by the situations and the voices that she patiently captured.

From then on Yoko Tawada and Delphine Parodi will travel several times to Fukushima, mostly  on their own, together in the summer of 2015, and always driven by a common necessity of listening to the voices of the inhabitants, to what they have experienced and still do, and sharing common responsibility for translating it into words and images.

Combining photographic diptychs, poems, testimonies and memories in four languages, the book Out of sight is the outcome of this long-term project. Oscillating between the visible and the invisible, this book gives form to what remains a constant yet imperceptible threat. It claims to be a call for a renewed collective consciousness, a call that has acquired a universal dimension in this period pandemic.

Delphine Parodi, born in Marseille in 1984, is a French photographer currently living and working in Tokyo. Prior to moving to Japan in 2009 she studied Literature at the Sorbonne University in Paris and Photography at the London College of Communication.

Yoko Tawada, born in Tokyo in 1960, is a Japanese novelist, poet and essayist. She has been living in Germany since 1982. She has published more than 40 books in Japanese and German and is the recipient of several prestigious international literature awards.


Yoko Tawada wrote the 24 poems of this book in German then translated them herself into her mother tongue, Japanese. They were subsequently translated info French by Bernard Banoun and into English by Bettina Brandt. One of the appeals of the project is also the way it propagates languages and emphasises the power of translation, all the more so with a poetic and sensitive subject like this one. Yoko Tawada’s work is translated into many languages by renowned translators.

Bernard Banoun teaches 20th and 21st century German literature at the Sorbonne University. His research focuses on contemporary German literature, opera and history of translation. Besides his translations of Yoko Tawada’s work published in French by Verdier, he also translated Josef Winkler, Werner Kofler or Stefan Zweig… He is also one of the authors, with Isabelle Poulin and Yves Chevrel of the important Histoire des traductions en langue française (Verdier, 2019).

Dr. Bettina Brandt was born in Germany, grew up in the Netherlands and French speaking-Belgium. She earned her Master’s degrees in French and German from the University of Utrecht and a PhD from Harvard University in Comparative Literature. Before joining the German faculty at Penn State University, Brandt taught at Harvard, MIT, Columbia University and Montclair State University. Brandt is the author of numerous book chapters and articles on transnational multilingual German-language authors such as Yoko Tawada, Emine Özdamar and Herta Müller. Brandt, who is also translator, translates German contemporary fiction.

Having lived in Japan for many years, Delphine Parodi has woven a link with the country that allowed her to share intimate moments with the people and gain access to a rare word involving memories of places, of tastes and of traditions…


Before the nuclear disaster of March 2011, relationships between the individuals, their community and the nature around were strong in the region, especially in the severely damaged towns surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi plant. These relations were strongly shaken by the accident, whose impact is still greatly felt inside and outside Japan. How then do people live in a new environment under the constant threat of elevated radiation levels? How do they exist when the simple freedom of living in the present has been taken away; when their sensations and carnal perceptions have been rattled and the bonds conjoining them to their community and their surrounding space have been compromised?


Delphine Parodi followed the evolution of these places during her frequent visits to Fukushima, not only in the immediate surroundings of the plant but also in “the three countries” of the Fukushima Prefecture. The easter hamadori coastal region where the Daiichi nuclear plant is set. The middle nakadori region, and the hinterland Aizushio region, towards Aizu.
She was often joined by current or former inhabitants of the regions, all of whom had a special relationship and history with the area.

These photographs show these surfaces in an intimate way, and depict the body as a vector of consciousness of our surroundings – a body that stands at the junction between the inside and the outside, in an unknown familiarity, like a potential substratum for the memory – a memory that is now divided between its value as proof and its loss.


Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, 2015

Wir mussten unsere Stadt verlassen, unser Haus aufgeben, unser Leben hinter uns lassen. Doch die Bäume sind geblieben. Sie wissen nicht, dass alles verseucht ist, aber sie wissen, wann sie blühen müssen und wann sie ihre Blätter fallen lassen müssen, dem Zyklus der Jahreszeiten folgend.


On a dû quitter nos villes, abandonner nos maisons, laisser nos vies derrière nous. Mais les arbres sont restés. Ils ne savent pas que tout a été contaminé, mais ils savent quand est-ce qu’ils doivent fleurir et quand perdre leurs feuilles, suivant le cycle des saisons.

We had to leave our town, abandon our house, leave our life behind us. But the trees stayed. They don’t know that everything has been contaminated, but they know when they have to blossom and when to lose their leaves.

Nihommatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, 2012

Meine Familie hat Reisfelder in Tomioka, gerade noch innerhalb der Grenze der Evakuierungszone. Die erste Ernte - der neue Reis - darauf habe ich jedes Jahr gewartet, auf diesen Geschmack. Aber ich werde das nie mehr erleben.

私の家族は富岡町の立ち入り禁止区域の中に稲田を持っていました。収穫したての味 - 新米 - それを毎年待ち侘びていた。けれど、もうそれは二度と出会うことができない。

Ma famille avait des champs de riz à Tomioka, juste à la limite de la zone d’évacuation. Le goût de la première récolte: le riz nouveau est quelque chose que j’attendais chaque année, mais je ne pourrais plus jamais en faire l’expérience.

My family have rice fields in Tomioka, just inside the limit of the exclusion zone. The first harvest, the new rice, the first bowl of this rice was something I waited each year for its taste, unique but I will never encounter it again.


Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, 2014

Einmal im Monat komme ich in mein altes Haus zurück. Es liegt in Namie, also innerhalb der Evakuierungszone. Ich brauche dieses Hin und Her, sonst würde ich den Sinn für die Realität völlig verlieren. Ich träume oft davon, wie meine Stadt war und mein Leben der letzten 50 Jahre - es scheint mir immer noch so real. Und doch, manchmal, wenn ich aufwache, frage ich mich, ob es jemals existiert hat. Deshalb muss ich dort tatsächlich hingehen, um die Grenzen dieser beiden Welten physisch zu erfahren. Wenn ich von einer in die andere Fahre, habe ich das Gefühl, dazwischen gefangen zu sein; aber es gibt mir zumindest das Gefühl der Wirklichkeit.


Je retourne une fois par mois dans mon ancienne maison située à Namie, à l’intérieur de la zone d’evacuation. J’ai besoin de ces allers-retours; sinon je perds complètement le sens de la réalité. Je rêve souvent de ma ville d’avant, de ma vie ces cinquante dernières années, ça à l’air encore tellement réel. Et pourtant quand je me réveille parfois je me demande si ça a jamais existé. C’est pourquoi j’ai besoin de m’y rendre pour expérimenter les limites entre ces deux mondes. Pendant que je conduis de l’un à l’autre je me sens vraiment coincée entre les deux, mais au moins ça me donne un sentiment de réalité.

I come back once a month to my old house situated in Namie, inside the evacuation zone. I need this back and forth; otherwise I completely lose sense of reality. I often dream of what my town was like - my life for the last 50 years - it still seems so real. Yet sometimes when I wake up, I wonder if it ever existed. This is why I need to go there to physically experience the boundaries of these two worlds. While I drive between them I really feel caught in the middle, but this, at least, gives me a sense of reality.


Out of sight presents 52 photographic diptychs taken by Delphine Parodi in Fukushima between 2012 and 2019, 24 poems written by Yoko Tawada inen 2013 in Fukushima and the testimonies collected by Delphine Parodi from the inhabitants of the region during her stays, all in four languages.

Book features

Released in October 2020
ISBN 978-2-36744-146-7

52 colour plates
16,5 x 28,5 cm
120 pages
Hardcover with tipped-in image
4-colour printing process on 170 gr coated matte paper

Quadrilingual texts, French / German / Japanese / English


Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, educated at Waseda University and has lived in Germany since 1982, where she received her Ph.D. in German literature. She received the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for The Bridegroom Was a Dog. She writes in both German and Japanese, and in 1996, she won the Adalbert-von-Chamisso Prize, a German award recognizing foreign writers for their contributions to German culture. She also received the Goethe-Medal, the prestigious Kleist Prize (2016) and the Book Prize in 2018 for The Emissary.

Delphine Parodi, born in Marseille in 1984, lives and works in Tokyo. Prior to moving to Japan in 2009 Parodi studied Literature at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and Photography at the London College of Communication. Her work, at the crossroads between documentary and narrative photography, focuses on the relationship between human societies and their environment, and portrays the delicate links between stories, accounts of the past, and the present. Navigating between the visible and the invisible, between document and narration.

Solo exhibitions:
– Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin 2014, "Out of Sight".
–  Kyotographie Festival of Photography 2016, "Out of Sight".
Group exhibitions:
– Galerie La Jetée Marseille 2017, "Fukushima".

Le Bec en l’air is a French independent publisher founded in 2000, based in Marseille, and specialised in photobooks.

Our 180 titles catalogue includes Denis Brihat’s monographs, all of Denis Dailleux’s recent books, Marc Riboud’s Algeria – as well as photographic writings as diverse as the ones of Jane Evelyn Atwood, Bruno Boudjelal, Stéphane Couturier, Payram or, among the emerging talents, Arko Datto, Yohanne Lamoulère, Frédéric Stucin…

Whether the work we publish are driven by a documentary, an aesthetic or an intimate purpose, our books share a common feature: the dialog between image and text as a tool for questioning the contemporary world.

As for the texts, very often multi-lingual, they are commissioned to writers, essayists or art critics such as Jon Lee Anderson, Christian Caujolle, François Cheval, Kushanava Choudhury, Laurent Gaudé, Marie-Hélène Lafon, Yanick Lahens, Elias Sanbar…

The publishing house is associated with several events of which it produces the annual catalogue: Circulation(s) festival in Paris, ImageSingulières in Sète, Prix Maison Blanche in Marseille…

It has also been entrusted with the publication of a yearly catalogue presenting the photographic acquisitions of French public institutions (museums, FRAC, CNAP, BnF, national and regional archives, médiatheques…), in co-edition with the French Ministry of Culture, the first volume of which was published in 2020.


Le Bec en l'air at Paris Photo.

Allocation of funds

Total production costs amount to 17 400 .
This amount covers graphic design, prepress, royalties for authors, editorial follow-up, proof reading and printing of the book, including printing monitoring at the factory.

Production :
Printing of the book               9 200,00 €
Prepress                               1 200,00 €
Graphic design                     2 000,00 €

Editorial :
Royalties                               3 000,00 €
Editorial follow-up                  2 000,00 €
Total 17 400,00 €
5,5% VAT excl.

Your contribution will be directly allocated to the printing of the book.
Le remaining costs are covered by private sponsorship and by Le Bec en l’air.


Choose your reward

Make a donation

Give what I want

Sold out


Estimated delivery: September 2020

A signed copy of the book + a poem by Yoko Tawada, chosen by the author among the 24 poems of the book Out of Sight and calligraphed in Japanese on traditional washi paper, 16 x 28 cm. All rewards will be shipped wrapped in Japanese paper.
  • 5 backers
  • 0/5 available

Copie - 75 and more


Estimated delivery: September 2020

A signed copy of the book + a poem by Yoko Tawada, chosen by the author among the 24 poems of the book Out of Sight and calligraphed in Japanese on traditional washi paper, 16 x 28 cm. All rewards will be shipped wrapped in Japanese paper.
  • 4 backers
  • 0/5 available


Estimated delivery: September 2020

A signed copy of the book + a signed 14 x 12 cm pigment inkjet print, printed on Hahnemuhle Silk Baryta 310gr paper. All rewards will be shipped wrapped in Japanese paper.
  • 5 backers
  • 0/5 available


Estimated delivery: September 2020

A signed copy of the book + a signed 14 x 12 cm pigment inkjet print, printed on Hahnemuhle Silk Baryta 310gr paper. All rewards will be shipped wrapped in Japanese paper.
  • 5 backers
  • 0/5 available


Estimated delivery: September 2020

A signed copy of the book + a signed 42 x 36 cm pigment inkjet print, printed on Hahnemuhle Silk Baryta 310gr paper. All rewards will be shipped wrapped in Japanese paper.
  • 2 backers
  • 0/2 available