21 years have passed since the explosion of the “furikome” bank transfer scams in Japan. In the largest case, approximately 60 billion yen (40 million USD) disappeared in a year. At least 250,000 elderly people lost their savings causing some to take their own lives and some lose ties with their family. Moreover, almost 20,000 young people have been arrested; some have fulfilled their dreams temporary and the others have lost everything. And in all this, there are people known by the author.
Scammers use special papers that dissolve in water when they print out information, so that the evidence can be easily destroyed completely. It seemed as if wounds were being created that would never heal for both the victims and the perpetrators.
In the process of creating the work, he began by pretending to be both the victim and the perpetrator. The perpetrator, too, pretending various characters within the act of the crime. He felt that by doing the same thing, he could understand something about invisible scammers. He rented several locations that met the conditions suitable for use as the base for the crime scenes, bringing in fraudulent tools to pretend them and shooting. Since he took the photographs himself, he couldn’t shoot during the performance, and inevitably, only traces remained.
The photographs of them that washed off. Truth and fiction. The meaning conveyed by symbols that are selectively interpreted through preconceptions. Images that leave the hand of the author instantly become a liar.
As the shooting progressed, portraying certain subjects, even if only momentarily, made him contemplate the “might-have-been lives” within himself. A salaryman’s son, an affluent woman, a young person being threatened, a kind grandmother to her grandchildren, a fortunate man, a pressured mother—each role left words spoken and traces behind, shaping the boundaries of what might have existed as him.
In our daily lives, we often live while sensing the gap between who we want to be and who we are now. Anomie. Ideals and reality. The world is filled with ideals that cannot be realized. For some, achieving this may involve obtaining wealth. Through interviews, reading reports, and the autobiographies of perpetrators, he found that, irrespective of the morality of their actions, he resonated with the dissatisfaction of wanting to lead an ideal life but feeling unable to achieve it through honest living.
In the thin line between truth and fiction, we choose to believe what we want, even if we are aware that we are deceived. In doing so, we had to continue to trivialize narratives of good and evil into individual issues, all in an effort to uphold our own sense of justice.
One perpetrator said, ”It is not my fault, it is the fault of the senior who invited me, it is the fault of the young people being poor, it is the fault of the world ”. There is certainly a haze inside me that he cannot deny when he hear such words but it is our sin that they cannot face their sin.
How much can we say that we are irrelevant to their excuses? How can we believe in always being on the side of justice and being in the position to judge others?