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Fukushima: Director Makoto Shinkai of “Suzume no Togome”: “If I don’t depict the scenery of Futaba-gun, I will be telling a lie”

C)2022 “Suzume no Togome

The protagonists stop their car at a coastal area in the prefecture along Route 6 and get off at a hill overlooking the beautiful sea. As they look around, they see a village with overgrown grass. Director Makoto Shinkai (49)’s latest animated film, “Suzume no Togome” (The Sparrow’s Doorstep),” depicts the Great East Japan Earthquake as one of its themes, as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other affected areas. In an exclusive online interview with Fukushima Minpo, Shinkai said, “I felt that if I did not depict the scenery of Futaba County, I would be telling a lie with ‘Suzume no Togomei’ (Suzume’s Door Closed).


 The film features Suzume, a 17-year-old high school student living in Kyushu. The film is an adventure story in which Suzume and her friends are trying to close the “door” that leads to disaster in abandoned buildings in various parts of the country where people no longer live.

 Suzume and his friends drive down National Route 6, passing by a sign that reads “Difficult-to-return zone. While the road has been cleaned up, the houses on both sides of the road remain abandoned. The view from the top of the hill where they arrived at the site shows buildings reminiscent of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

 Two summers ago, Shinkai visited the area and experienced firsthand the current situation in the hard-to-return zone. It is meaningful to indirectly convey to the audience that this kind of scenery exists in Japan,” he said. He was determined not to let the disaster fade away.

 There are many scenes that faithfully reproduce the scenery of various parts of Japan. However, in depicting Fukushima Prefecture, the shapes and layouts of the houses were fictitious while maintaining the atmosphere of the area. There are many people who want to return. I couldn’t just paint someone’s house without their permission.”


 In Shinkai’s works, background art plays an important role in the story. Many viewers are drawn to the sparkling sea and colorful grasslands. Memories of people who once spent their lives in abandoned schools and hot spring resorts float in the air. The film is a directing collaboration between Shinkai and the director of the hit film “Kimi no na wa. The art director of this film, Takumi Tanji, who has been working with Shinkai for about 20 years, including on the hit film “Kimi no na wa. He is like a ‘Superman’ to me,” he says.

 Tanji is responsible for setting up fictional locations such as hot spring resorts and amusement parks based on real landscapes. Even if I ask him to do something a little difficult, he smiles and says, “Well, we’ll figure it out. He has the full confidence of all the staff, including myself, that we can leave everything in his capable hands.


 Twelve years will soon pass since the disaster. An increasing number of people of that generation do not know what it was like at the time of the disaster. He analyzes that more than one-third of the audience is younger than the disaster victims and says, “If I could create an opportunity for people to learn about the disaster, I would like to think that it was only possible because it was an animation.

 About three months have passed since the release of the film. He has given stage greetings throughout Japan and visited Fukushima Prefecture on January 28. He received many letters through the theaters and was encouraged by the warm response, smiling and saying, “I felt that it was good that this film exists.

 There has been criticism of the depiction of the disaster in entertainment films, and he accepts that “there can never be a film that everyone agrees with, and I can’t easily say that it was a success. Still, he also believes that if films only avoid depicting the painful parts of the disaster, they will not move people’s hearts.

 I hope that animated films can play a role in society, and not just be interesting,” he said. He believes in the power of film and intends to continue to face this challenge.


February 13, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Why a Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima? An animated film with a connection to Hiroshima

Mr. Hidenobu Fukumoto (right) and Mr. Masaru Sato in Hiroshima, courtesy of Mr. Fukumoto
A scene from the animation “Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Beginning Story ‘Pass'” (Courtesy of Machi Monogatari Production Committee)
Ms. Yoko Oka (left), Ms. Kinue Ishii (center), and Ms. Hisae Yashima (courtesy of Ms. Oka)
Yoko Oka (right) and Hisae Yashima perform a picture-story show at Kariyado, Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture on December 19, 2020.
A picture book created by Hidenobu Fukumoto. The picture book, created by Hidenobu Fukumoto, is a picture story show and animation based on stories he heard from Fukushima victims.

February 27, 2022

Why was it necessary to build a nuclear power plant in Fukushima? Mr. Hidenobu Fukumoto, 65, a Hiroshima resident who works as a picture-story show artist named Teppei Ikumasa, has created a 57-minute animation titled “Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant: The Beginning of the Story ‘Toge'” that traces the historical background of the nuclear power plant from the perspective of a disaster victim, including an unexpected connection to Hiroshima, where the atomic bomb was dropped. The work asks, “What do the repeated disasters caused by radiation appeal to us? This work asks the question.
High economic growth and the ongoing debate on nuclear power

 The protagonist of the story is a man in his 60s who was forced to leave his hometown and live as an evacuee due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. He was born in 1949 in the town of Okuma, where a nuclear power plant was later built. He entered a university in Tokyo during the period of rapid economic growth, when Japan was emerging from postwar poverty and becoming prosperous, and enjoyed his student life.

 The story, however, brings to light the major changes that are occurring in Japan with regard to nuclear power while the country is enjoying affluence.

 The story depicts U.S. President Eisenhower’s speech to the United Nations in 1953, in which he called for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the subsequent exposition on the peaceful use of nuclear energy held in Hiroshima and other cities, the radiation exposure of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru in 1954 due to a U.S. hydrogen bomb test, and the investigation of the location of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture in 1960.

 In the scene of the A-bomb hospital in Hiroshima, a young girl asks her mother, lying in bed, to “get well and take me to the Nuclear Peace Expo. When the man, now a university student, returns home, the huge buildings of the nuclear power plant are already towering over him, and he is speechless. Then, the images travel back in time to 2011.

 At the end of the story, while living in an evacuation shelter, the man speaks. In the name of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear power plants spread in a global wave, taking in even the damage caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I guess there was nothing we ordinary people could do about it.
The story of the nuclear power plant in Hiroshima: the inspiration for the animation

 Mr. Fukumoto wrote the script and drew the animation based on interviews with people in Fukushima and published materials. The impetus for the production of the animation came from an unbelievable story he heard from a victim of the disaster: “I heard that there was talk of building a nuclear power plant in Hiroshima.

Mr. Fukumoto is from the city of Hiroshima…

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February 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Shadow of Hiroshima” at Fukushima nuclear power plant: Animation depicts history of nuclear power

Hidenobu Fukumoto, creator of the animated film The Story of the Beginning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

February 20, 2022

 In the history of nuclear power plants, the “shadow of Hiroshima” is hidden. A Hiroshima-based citizens group that supports victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has produced an animated film titledThe Story of the Beginning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The work traces the history of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the U.S. military and the nuclear accident, and depicts the social movements and people’s thoughts regarding nuclear power.

Hidenobu Fukumoto, a member of the Machi Monogatari Production Committee, has been visiting the disaster-stricken areas in Tohoku and has been creating picture story shows based on local folklore and disaster experiences. Last year, he started an initiative to convert the picture story shows into animated films and donate them to public facilities.

It depicts the life of a man born and raised in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, and shows the connection between the atomic bombing and nuclear power plants one after another.–FE43aO6xsPCMSzTARPmbP94gBUkzmcrOPRKsjdecEhwWw

February 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

“Abita”, an animated film about the plight of 360,000 Fukushima Children


This is an animation from 2013 made by a japanese student living in Germany. A girl living in Fukushima suffers fron radiation exposure.

“Abita”, is an animated short film about Fukushima children who can’t play outside because of the radioactivity. About their dreams and realities.


Abita 2013.jpg

Children in Fukushima can no longer play in nature due to radioactive radiation.
For nature is not 100% decontaminable.
This is just a story of 360,000 children who stay at home and dream of their freedom in nature and experience reality.

Abita was given many international prize, but this not reported in Japan. Sad country!!

Best Animated Film, International Uranium Filmfestival, Rio de Janeiro, 2013
Special Mention, Back-up Filmfestival, Weimar, 2013

Upcoming Competitions:
Eco-Filmtour, Potsdam, 2014 (nominated)
Winter Film Awards, New York City, 2014 (nominated)

International Festival of Animated Film ITFS 2013, BW-Rolle
Japanese Symposium, Bonn, 2013
Nippon Connection, 2013
International Uranium Filmfestival, Rio de Janeiro, 2013
International Uranium Filmfestival, Munich, 2013
International Uranium Filmfestival, New Mexico, 2013
International Uranium Filmfestival, Arizona, 2013
International Uranium Filmfestival, Washington DC, 2013
International Uranium Filmfestival, New York City, 2013
Back-up Filmfestival, Weimar, 2013
Mediafestival, Tübingen, 2013
zwergWERK – Oldenburg Short Film Days, 2013
Konstanzer Filmfestspiele, 2013
Green Citizen’s Action Alliance GCAA, Taipei, Taiwan, 2013
Stuttgart Night, Cinema, 2013
Yerevan, Armenien, ReAnimania, 2013
Minshar for Art, The Israel Animation College, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2013
IAD, Warschau, Gdansk, Wroclaw/Polen, 2013
IAD (BW-Rolle, Best of IC, Best of TFK) Sofia, Bulgarien, 2013
05. November 2013: Stuttgart Stadtbibliothek (BW-Rolle) , 2013
PISAF Puchon, Southkorea, (BW-Rolle, Best of IC, Best of TFK) , 2013
Freiburg, Trickfilm-Abend im Kommunalen Kino (BW-Rolle), Freiburg, 2013
Zimbabwe, ZIMFAIA (BW-Rolle, Best of IC, Best of TFK), Zimbabwe, 2013

Upcoming Screenings:
18. Dezember 2013: Böblingen – Kunstverein Böblingen (BW-Rolle)
21.-22. Dezember 2013: Schorndorf – Kino Kleine Fluchten (BW-Rolle, Best of IC, Best of TFK)
27. August 2014: Künzelsau – Galerie am Kocher (BW-Rolle)
Movie Night for the anniversary of the Fukushima desaster,Zurich, 2014

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Animation Makes Debut

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment