Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Interesting new content at Japan Focus: "The Making of 'A Body in Fukushima': A Journey through an Ongoing Disaster" by William Johnston with Eiko Otake - and - Some VAOJ Commentary on 3.11

A Body in Fukushima (quick view 5 sec each) 2014 05 30 from Eiko and Koma on Vimeo.

One day in November of 2013 I answered the phone to hear the voice of Eiko Otake saying excitedly, “Bill! What do you think of going to Fukushima to shoot photos of me performing in the stations along the Jōban Line?” For several years Eiko, better known as half of the performance duo Eiko and Koma, and I had collaborated in the classroom and by then knew each other well. We had co‑taught two different courses, Japan and the Atomic Bomb and Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in which we integrated movement exercises with historical and environmental studies. We both have long-standing interests in those and related topics, and had spoken at length about the triple disaster of 3.11 in Japan. Soon after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, we had talked about our concern for the people of Tōhoku and exchanged feelings of dread at the unfolding nuclear disaster in Fukushima. And I knew that she had visited Fukushima with a friend only five months after 3.11. But this new proposal took me by surprise.

“A Body in Fukushima” is an ongoing project that consists of still photographs shot by William Johnston of Eiko Otake performing in the area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Reactor and of video interpretations of those still photographs made by Eiko. Representative images and videos are embedded in the text...

Read and see more at the source: William Johnston with Eiko Otake, “The Making of ‘A Body in Fukushima’: A Journey through an Ongoing Disaster,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 9, No. 4, March 9, 2015.


Today is the 4th anniversary of the 3.11 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disasters. 15,891 people died and 2,584 people remain missing. 229,000 people are still living as evacuees; 80,000 of those are living in prefabricated temporary housing units. These last two statistics are incredible in that so much time and energy is being devoted to the 2020 Olympics, promotion of traditional Japanese food and idol groups. The priorities of the government are strange and unfortunate to say the least.

There is an article in today's The Japan News about disabled people living in temporary housing. The focus is on a blind woman living in a temporary housing unit that is small and lacking audio assist systems. She has little contact with her neighbors; she talks with a caretaker who visits her three times a week. She has asked the local government to give priority to disabled and elderly people seeking permanent housing. The reply: "We can't build a community with only such people." She can't get an apartment because landlords think blind people might accidentally start a fire. She faces prejudice and discrimination on top of being a 3.11 victim. Why is this happening in a country that is focusing on offering omotenashi and good services to foreign tourists? What about its own citizens in need?

Link to "4 years after quake, 229,000 still evacuees," in The Japan News, 3/11/15:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, families of the victims and those still missing and the evacuees.

More Japan’s 3.11 Earthquake, Tsunami, Atomic Meltdown coverage at Japan Focus:

Previous 3.11 coverage at VAOJ:

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