Finding Home

After Fallout

Tomodachi of Fukushima

Tomodachi of Fukushima

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Hiroko Ishikawa

Hiroko Ishikawa

"I’m used to it now, but sometimes I cry still”

Kiyoko Shiga

Kiyoko Shiga

Shiga was forced to evacuate her hometown of 60 years

Matsumota Takeaki

Matsumota Takeaki

He is unconcerned with the health risk of radiation.

Yukio Ito

Yukio Ito

“We didn’t have any idea how to handle radiation”

Naoto Matsumura

Naoto Matsumura

“I can’t just throw their lives away.”

Naraha Jr. High

Naraha Jr. High

The opening of the new school in Naraha meant a chance for families

Takako Ogawa

Takako Ogawa

She restored her shop and rebuilt her business

Picking up the pieces

Life after the 3.11 triple disaster

The heart in darkness

A story of radiation, karaoke and destiny as a group of strangers struggles with the future of a forgotten village

Looking for all the world like he just wandered off the set of “Miami Vice,” Show Takahashi strolled the aisles of a Tomioka grocery store, shopping for food for the first foreign visitors to his Airbnb. Wearing a white jacket, white cargo pants and a pink button-up shirt with the collar up, he had a shopping basket of assorted meats in a basket over his arm...

Fishing in a sea of stigma

3.11 rumors drag Fukushima fishermen down

On a sunny day off the coast of Fukushima, four fishermen pulled a net full of tiny, translucent sardines onto their boat. Laughing and smoking, they pounded the net with their fists to release excess water.  It was a good catch.

 

“Delicious,” one fisherman said, but these sardines were not caught to be eaten. The entire day’s catch would be handed over to the Japanese government and tested for traces of nuclear radiation...

Forbidden foraging

Villagers can gather, but not eat, wild plants

Someone was stealing mushrooms from Hideo Watanabe’s secret spot.

 

The gatherers of Kawauchi Village in Fukushima, Japan, jealously guard places where treasured wild edible plants and mushrooms grow. So when Watanabe discovered that someone had been stealing from his spot, he was outraged.

 

“It was my spot,” he said, emphasizing the words. “Do it yourself!”

 

The next time he went foraging, Watanabe picked everything he found, so no one else could.

 

But Watanabe doesn’t eat the wild plants and mushrooms he gathers. Since Kawauchi’s forests were contaminated with radioactive cesium in March 2011, residents are no longer permitted to eat what they gather...

Chopsticks of hope

Written by Tate Samata

Masayuki Takahashi didn’t hear the rumbling over the bladed machinery severing cedar logs into thin slices. He was used to the shaking; but when his three-ton saw jolted a foot to the left, he knew there were other forces at play. As wood blocks flew off shelves of his woodshop, he darted outside. The electric line above him twirled like a jump rope; the earth tremored forcefully beneath his feet...

Written by Tate Samata

The nuclear meltdown next door

Written by Jana Wiegand

Clear plastic taped over the upholstered seats crinkled when we sat down on the tour bus. All our backpacks and all but one camera were locked in a room, guarded by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) officials. We left the town of Tomioka, where evacuation orders had just lifted two months ago, and drove into the no-go zone...

Scraping Fukushima clean

Video by Jack Ginsburg and Katy Spence

In the quiet countryside near Tomioka town, the sound of an excavator tore the solitude, its operator scraping the earth away. The man at the controls put retirement on hold to help restore this area, damaged by radiation after the destruction of the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. 

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