Fukushima 2011–2017

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Fukushima 2011–2017
Author: Hiromi Tsuchida
Specifications: ISBN  978-4622086697
196 pages
29.8 x 29.8 cm / 11.9 x 11.9 in (WxH)
Category: Nonfiction
Publisher: Misuzu Shobo, Ltd.
Tokyo, 2018
Buy now: amazon.co.jp


On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake struck northeastern Japan, triggering an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, only 260 kilometers north of Tokyo, that was comparable to the Chernobyl disaster. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate, and their communities were declared unsafe for habitation. This book introduces a series of fixed-point photographs taken by Hiromi Tsuchida in radiation-contaminated areas of Fukushima Prefecture. Tsuchida is known worldwide for his work tracing the postwar changes in Hiroshima, a city destroyed by another form of the same nuclear energy that has devastated Fukushima.

The contaminated zones of Fukushima were inhabited by people who had cultivated and coexisted with nature for many generations. The region is a rolling land of rice paddies, pastures, farm ponds, mountainous landscapes out of a sumi-ink painting, rivers and seacoasts rich with fish, and cherry trees that people gathered under in the spring. Still standing are the houses families used to live in, the gardens they tended, their schools, amusement parks, and shopping streets.

After the nuclear accident, people vanished from this landscape and the natural beauty of Fukushima began to undergo a transformation. The decontamination process scraped the topsoil off vast swathes of land to a uniform depth of five centimeters, along with the trees and plants growing there. Because permanent disposal sites have yet to be established, black container bags full of this waste continue to pile up throughout the area. A bizarre and complex reality persists with no resolution in sight. Tsuchida resorted to the use of drones to film this eerie landscape from above.

This photo collection is a chronicle of the breakdown of the symbiotic relationship between human beings and nature. The scenes it depicts may presage the future of a civilization that has been relentless in its pursuit of material wealth at all costs. Through these artistically stunning photographs one can hear the lament of the land they portray.

The book includes commentaries, maps, and positional data on the photographs in both English and Japanese.