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On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the Eastern Coast of Japan, which triggered the nuclear core meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This is known as the Triple Disasters of 3.11. Even now, nine years later, the damaged power plants are continually releasing massive amounts of radioactive materials.

The Japanese government has changed the radiation safety standards. Restrictions of radiation exposure to residence was loosened to 20 times than before the disaster. The government has forcefully carried out repatriation policies for us to return home despite high levels of radiation contamination in the area. Few people have returned home. Once lively towns are now silent.

Inconsistency in evacuation policy after the nuclear disaster has left many local communities divided. In the name of the Olympic games, the government placed numerous policies in arbitrary manner, and as a result the people of Fukushima are left in pieces.

Overflowing memories were fiddled bluntly and drifting apart with nowhere to go

Only people continue on as if nothing happened

Convenient excuses alone cannot refill abandoned houses

Beautiful flowers painfully contrast with flexible container bags*, echoing hollowness

*Flexible container bags contain contaminated materials

Exposed to Mushubutsu*, what have the Seven Gods of Fortune witnessed, and what have they pondered?
*TEPCO claims that fallen-out radioactive materials belong to no one (Mushubutsu) and thus they are not responsible for it.

Evacuation orders have been lifted, and new nuclear facilities appear

Cherry blossom festivals bring momentary liveliness

While childless villages are left to decay

Under a clear blue sky, flowers flourish, birds squeal, wild animals and insects rejoice freedom

Because Mushubutsu is invisible, Because Mushubutsu is odorless

Villages with no more people, Villages with no sound, Villages left to decay, Villages to be abandoned

Is this heaven or hell? Mountains, rivers, grass and trees

Only people are missing here

The broken nuclear plants that once tore so many hearts, continue puffing out fumes

Will it continue to tear us apart?

Please, no more.


I got the idea of this book in April 2019, when I was on my way to a cherry blossom festival in Tomioka Town, Fukushima. The airborne radiation level of a street was 0.2~0.7 μSv, and the next street was 1.0μSv. The barricade divided the cherry blossom street. There were young children and elderly couples, families with their pets, full of smiles and happiness. But at the same time, there were those who worryingly gazed out beyond the barricade.

There were many street vendors lined up in the nearby middle school playground for the festival. There was even an informational booth from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). Next to the ground, there was a gymnasium. The gymnasium was left there as if frozen in time, in preparation for the graduation ceremony right before the earthquake hit. As I was walking through this chaotic town alone, I thought to myself, “I wish the sky would turn red.”
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have also been called the “Recovery Olympics.” The governor of Fukushima has asserted that he will show the world “the light and the darkness” of Fukushima. But how is the “dark” side of Fukushima going to be revealed? To name one, the route of the torch relay seems to imply otherwise.
While chanting such optimistic terms like “ties” (kizuna), “Cheer up!” (ganbarou), “I’m doing well” (genkidesu), aren’t we trying to look away from tens of thousands of evacuees or those who have returned only to face a life of sorrow and pain?
As many people have begun to forget about the “darkness” in Fukushima, I feel obliged to keep drawing about it. Perhaps, the decommissioning of the reactors won’t be completed in my life time.

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | | Leave a comment