Restoring Memory

Tomoko Kubota

By colorizing monochrome photos taken before, during, and after World War II, the survivors of the War start to restore vivid memories of their daily lives.


This installation was a part of HEAR & NOW: An Interactive Oral History Exhibitshowcasing multimedia projects and stories recorded by the 2017 cohort of Columbia University’s Oral History MA program. 

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“Oh my gosh!” shouted the narrator to the newly colorized photo of her mother surrounded by green trees and bright tropical fruits, and she wistfully started to sing a song her mother used to sing to mourn her husband’s death in the War. Color helps narrators to rejuvenate their fading memory, works as a vivid reminder to us that the past did not exist in black and white, and takes away the remoteness of the past. Please bring your own monochrome photos to the exhibit (both prints and digital are welcome!) and let’s colorize!

Tomoko Kubota comes to OHMA with a BA in Foreign Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan. She worked as a TV reporter at TBS, Tokyo Broadcasting Systems. Tomoko’s work explores oral history about War memories and how one can preserve and transmit memories of catastrophic events to future generations to prevent any reoccurrence.