TOKYO -- Photos by a Mainichi Shimbun reporter showing damage caused by a typhoon that crippled Kansai International Airport in September 2018 won a prize in the Editorial Division of the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association (NSK) Awards on Sept. 4, bringing the total won by the newspaper in the division to a record 31.
The photos by Mainichi Shimbun reporter Kentaro Ikushima, 40, a member of the Photo Department of The Mainichi Newspapers Co.'s Osaka Head Office, show flooding of Kansai International Airport's A runway in the wake of Typhoon Jebi, and damage to a bridge leading to the airport in western Japan following a collision by a wayward tanker. They were among three prizes awarded in the Editorial Division this fiscal year.
The NSK's Editorial Division award is the most prestigious prize in Japanese journalism. This year marked the fourth year in a row for the Mainichi Shimbun to win an award in the division. The Mainichi Shimbun's 31 awards in the division are the most among any newspaper in Japan.
Typhoon Jebi, the 21st tropical storm recorded last year, crossed the Kansai region in western Japan on Sept. 4, 2018, and the runway and the tarmac were flooded due to storm surges. A tanker blown about by strong winds hit a bridge to the airport, bringing rail operations and road traffic to a halt, and stranding about 8,000 passengers and workers at the airport overnight.
On the evening of Sept. 4, Ikushima took off aboard a helicopter belonging to the Mainichi Shimbun's Aviation Department to assess the damage to the airport. While facing tough conditions for photography with adverse weather near dusk, he captured an image as sunlight struck the airport from the west, exposing the spread of the dark seawater. This and the photo of the tanker collision were deemed symbolic images of the great damage wrought by the typhoon, and were published by media organizations both in Japan and overseas.
"The skill and decision-making ability of the cameraman stand out as he seized the chance when the west sun came through a gap in the clouds to capture the appearance of the airport island, showing the power of news photos in Japan and overseas," the NSK said in its appraisal of the photos. "As many natural disasters are occurring, this was outstanding photojournalism having a large impact on readers as it conveyed the extensive typhoon damage."