Yoko Ono thinking of Japan / by Kamie Chang Kahlo


Photographs Annie Leibovitz 1970-1990
 
Annie Leibovitz shot this cover for Rolling Stone Magazine in 1980, 5 hours later John Lennon was shot and killed. I have been holding on to this photo of Yoko Ono and Lennon for some time looking for an excuse to post. Sadly, this was not the occasion I was looking for; Yoko Ono expresses her sorrow for her native country Japan.
My dear people of Japan: I feel numb now, as if I was there myself and hit with this disaster as you have been. Only just recently I visited Tokyo, and was delighted how beautiful, clean and quiet the city was! I didn’t expect a disaster like this to happen to the country I love so much.
One year, John, my husband, Sean and I were in the hotel in Tokyo. It was in the morning, and the earthquake suddenly hit three of us. I immediately grabbed Sean, who was still a little boy then. I went into an open closet, holding Sean tightly, and sat in there, keep repeating Namyohorengekyo. After the earthquake subsided, John laughed and said, he didn’t understand why I sat in an open closet. I explained to him that it was important that to be protected by a structure. Well, at least, that was what I was told when I was a child. The earthquake John, Sean and I experienced was not at all like the one you just experienced. But still my body is now shaking tonight from the memory of it.
So I feel deeply for you for having experienced the earthquake that was the severest in the history of Japan. It must have been so, so horrible. I extend my sympathy and love to each one of you. I’m very sorry that you had to go through what you went through. My heart is with you all the way.