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Leslie Kee launches “Love & Hope” with Ayumi Hamasaki & Erika Sawajiri

by Robert Michael Poole

Following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan, photographer Leslie Kee, renowned for his celebrity portraits, began to document the aftermath. Six months later, he exhibited the photographs at a gallery in Omotesando Hills, central Tokyo. The exhibition, titled “Love & Hope,” featured prominently a set of images with Japan’s most successful pop star, Ayumi Hamasaki. The release of a book “Love & Hope,” with Ayumi Hamasaki on the cover, represented the next stage in his efforts to raise awareness and funds for the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami which killed over 20,000 people after it struck at 2.46pm JST on March 11th, 2011. Joining the exhibition as a guest was actress Erika Sawajiri, Japan’s most talked about celebrity of the year, representing the first ever meeting between Sawajiri and Hamasaki.