Kiyoko Shiga, 88, has lived with her son and daughter in temporary housing in Iwaki for more than five years. The three are cramped in a tiny house made up of one bedroom, a living area and a loft. Shiga was forced to evacuate her hometown of 60 years, Naraha, due to high radiation levels from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant meltdown in 2011.
Shiga remembers when the earthquake hit. She was living with her son Takeo at that time, but he wasn’t home when the ground began to shake. She said she didn’t have time to think. She was afraid of being alone in the house as the furniture began to fall. Takeo and his sister Hisako could not reach their mother by cell phone so they drove around the devastated town and looked in evacuation shelters, but found her nowhere. Eventually, they realized there was nothing more they could do and turned in for the night in Takeo’s home.
They found her the next morning. She had stayed overnight with a relative just down the street.
The temporary housing complex that the Shiga family is staying in will close in March 2018, when the owner will look to sell the land for development. Despite the lifting of Naraha’s evacuation order nearly two years ago, she and her family will not return to the home they know so well. There are no jobs there for her children.
Photos by Parker Seibold - Text by Parker Seibold and Zachariah Bryan