My Recollections – Mitsu Maeda

Mitsuyo Maeda, a Brazilian naturalized as Otávio Maeda, was a Japanese judōka and prizefighter in no holds barred competitions, also being one of the first documented mixed martial artists of the modern era for he frequently challenged practitioners of other arts and sports.


This is a ongoing series of my personal photographs of my grandmother, Tsuyajyo,  who started to have symptoms of dementia about 5 years ago, and people around her especially my mother.


My mother in Tsuyajyo’s room. She said she was feeling a bit tired, as Tsuyajyo was not well with fever for the past few days. Jan, 2013. 



My mother had taken care of her at home for 3 years until  Tsuyajyo joined the care home 2 years ago. There were difficulties my mother has faced mentally, as it is difficult to fully ‘understand’ and ‘accept’ that dementia is a disease especially when your close one started to have symptoms of it.


Every 3 or 4 days, the care worker helps her to take a shower. Apr, 2012,Kochi.



Now, after my mother passed a lot of part of her responsibilities to the care workers, she goes to see Tsuyajyo everyday to share some time together. We have been family all the time and the fact have been something very fundamental in our life, but the relationships between us keep changing. I wish to continue photographing how we are ‘being family’.


Photography and written by Mitsu Maeda


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