Long-running manga triggers uproar with Fukushima scenes

Long-running manga triggers uproar with Fukushima scenes

May 13, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Politicians at the national and local level have taken offense with depictions of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in a long-running manga series that until now had focused on food and gourmet cooking.

Installments of “Oishinbo” published in the April 28 and May 12 editions of the weekly Big Comic Spirits magazine also touched a nerve among those in Fukushima who felt the representations jarred with reality.

The manga series has been in print since 1983. A total of 120 million copies of the 110 bound volumes of Oishinbo have been sold.

In one scene, the main character in Oishinbo suddenly develops a nosebleed after visiting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In another, characters based on real-life individuals caution people not to live in Fukushima. There is no specific mention of fears about radiation, but the linkage is obvious.

The outraged Fukushima prefectural government posted its view of the manga on its website on May 12.

“The feelings of the Fukushima people were totally ignored and deeply hurt,” it said. “The depiction could severely damage the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism industries.”

The prefectural government submitted a formal protest against Shogakukan Inc., the publisher of the manga weekly, for the nosebleed depiction, noting that “there have been no confirmed cases of direct damage to health caused by radioactive materials emitted from the nuclear accident.”

The issue was also taken up at the national level.

At his May 12 news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the central government’s top spokesman, said, “It has been made clear through the appraisal of experts that there is no causal relationship between radiation exposure among residents and nosebleeds.”

The Fukushima prefectural chapter of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, along with Fukushima prefectural assembly members of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, issued statements of protest as well.

The manga content also rankled Fukushima University because an associate professor who appears under his real name in the May 12 installment says it is impossible to decontaminate the entire prefecture and make it livable for residents again.

Katsumi Nakai, president of Fukushima University, issued a statement that said, “We would like to remind faculty members to act and speak after thoroughly understanding their position.”

A sense of unfairness has spread well beyond Fukushima to Osaka in western Japan because the May 12 installment includes a segment in which residents of Osaka complain about health problems after a nearby incinerator processes rubble transported from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto told reporters, “Because of freedom of expression and since it is a manga, fundamentally the artist can freely do what he wants, but I think he went overboard with the depiction that has no basis in fact.”

In spite of the sharp reaction, Katsutaka Idogawa, the former mayor of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, refused to back down from what he was attributed with saying in the manga.

In the May 12 installment, Idogawa is depicted as saying, “Many people suffer from nosebleeds and fatigue because they have been exposed to radiation.” In another scene, he says, “People should not live in Fukushima today.”

At a May 9 news conference, Idogawa said: “I only spoke the truth. It is wrong for the prefectural government to raise such a fuss.”

The editors of the weekly manga magazine posted a comment on its website on May 12 that said, “We hope this contributes to deepening debate on how the administrative branch and mass media should be working.”

In the May 19 installment, they said the magazine will include special pages that will incorporate the views of several experts as well as the publication’s response to the various protests received. Magazine officials stressed they had no plans to change the contents of the manga.

Tetsu Kariya, the creator of Oishinbo, revealed on his own blog that he would continue with works related to Fukushima and said: “I believe any plans for interviews should come after that has been completed. I take full responsibility for everything that appears in the manga.”

Meanwhile, Fukushima residents had different takes on the controversy over the manga depictions.

Hideki Sato, 47, who lives in Fukushima city and works at an after-school child care facility, said the depictions ignored the local efforts to alleviate concerns about radiation exposure through internal radiation exposure testing and food testing.

However, Ruiko Muto, who heads a group of plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit seeking criminal responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear accident, said: “After the accident, I heard that some people suffered from nosebleeds. It is a fact that radioactive materials exist so no definitive statement can be made about no causal relationship. I feel uncomfortable with the concerted effort to protest the depiction of the nosebleed segment.”

The controversy was triggered in part by a tweet by a 32-year-old cram school teacher who uses the handle name “Junichi.” The tweet has been retweeted more than 10,000 times.

Junichi said, “I hope that this serves as an opportunity to have more people know about the reality in Fukushima through an examination of the contentious points, rather than cover up various arguments.”

(This article was written by Naoyuki Takahashi and Takuro Negishi.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

This installment of the “Oishinbo” manga was the target of protests from Fukushima prefectural government officials. (Takuro Negishi)

 

 

Japan publisher to review popular manga after Fukushima nosebleed controversy

May 19, 2014 9:14pm

TOKYO – The Japanese publisher of a comic that came under fire for linking radiation exposure at Fukushima to nosebleeds acknowledged Monday it had caused alarm and promised a review after the prime minister stepped into a growing row.

The popular “Oishinbo” (“Gourmets”) drew criticism in late April when it showed its main character, a newspaper reporter, having a nosebleed after visiting the tsunami-crippled nuclear plant.

In the same edition, another character—the real-life former mayor of a nearby town—says: “There are many people who have the same symptom in Fukushima. I want to say we should not live in Fukushima as it is now.”

The manga caused uproar among people living in Fukushima, who already complain of discrimination, as well as pro-nuclear politicians who maintain there is no proven causal relationship between exposure to radiation and nosebleeds.

They charged the comic would add fuel to rumors that have scared people away from farm and fishery products from the region, even if they comply with safety standards.

Unlike comics in the West, manga are treated as a serious art form in Japan, on a par with novels, and are widely read among the adult population.

They often take complex or current issues as their subject matter and can be influential in shaping public opinion.

Author Tetsu Kariya has insisted that the episode of his long-running series was based on information he had gathered over two years.

But in the latest edition published Monday, the chief editor of the weekly magazine that runs the strip acknowledged it had caused alarm.

“We have received a lot of criticism and complaints. As the editor in chief, I am aware of my responsibility for the unpleasant feelings this has generated,” said Hiroshi Murayama.

“We will review the language used and will take on board the criticism that has been made.”

The comments came after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe weighed in during a weekend visit to Fukushima, where the coastline was wrecked by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“There is no confirmation that anyone’s health has been directly affected by radioactive substances,” Abe said after visiting the Fukushima Medical University where he was brief on the issue.

In front of media cameras, the premier tasted cherries and helped plant rice seedlings at farms in the main city of Fukushima, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from the plant.

Although the natural disaster that sparked the accident left more than 18,000 people dead, the nuclear catastrophe—the world’s worst in a generation—is not officially recorded as having directly killed anyone.

While most scientific opinion says there is minimal risk to the population from the released radiation, there is widespread distrust of the government and regulators. — Agence France-Presse

 

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/361707/lifestyle/literature/japan-publisher-to-review-popular-manga-after-fukushima-nosebleed-controversy

Manga shows Fukushima worker’s experience

01 November 2013

A former worker at the Fukushima Daiichi site has created a manga comic of his experiences in a new series.

Kazuto Tatsuta is one of several thousand people that have worked since March 2011 to stabilise, clean up and decommission the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Based on this first-hand experience, he was motivated to create a manga to show the realities of the site and the lives of the workers.

 
 (Image: Kazuto Tatsuta)

Entitled Ichiefu – the shorthand for the Fukushima Daiichi site – the first frame explains, “This manga does not intend to reveal the truth behind what happened at Fukushima… this is the truth about Fukushima seen through the author’s eyes.” The disclaimer prepares readers for an unusual and sober depiction of the accident site and of normal people who continue to work without extreme apprehension about radiation.

Workers are shown going through strict safety and security routines, working among the water storage tanks and relaxing in the basic facilities. They travel through the evacuation zone and tsunami-damaged areas, encountering the farm animals that now roam freely.

Tatsuta entered his work in publisher Kodansha’s Manga Open competition where it beat 322 other entries and received unanimous approval from judges as the winner. The first issue of Ichiefu appeared in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning magazine at the start of October and was positioned among the limited number of full-colour pages. Yesterday Kodansha announced an intention to continue publication on Tatsuta’s schedule.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Fukushima Watch: Long-Running Foodie Manga Touches Nerve

·        Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

·        manga

·        Radiation

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Copies of the popular, long-running manga “Oishinbo” sit on a bookshelf.

Mari Iwata/The Wall Street Journal

While Japanese manga aimed at adults are notorious for often having dark, troubling subject matter, a more prosaic food-themed manga has stirred up quite a bit of controversy after one of its main characters was sickened following a visit to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The local government of Futaba, one of the towns near where the stricken real-life Fukushima Daiichi facility is located, lodged an official complaint with the manga’s publisher after the main character in the manga “Oishinbo” (a portmanteau of the Japanese word for delicious and the word for someone who loves to eat) was shown to be bleeding from his nose right after the trip.

“This will inflict baseless damage on all of Fukushima Prefecture, undermining its efforts to recover,” a statement from the Futaba municipal government posted on Wednesday showed. It also warned that the long-running weekly manga’s depiction of someone being sickened after visiting the plant could lead to greater discrimination against people living in the town and the prefecture.

The Ministry of Environment also weighed in on Thursday, posting a statement on its website saying it is very unlikely that radiation from the plant is causing residents to bleed from the nose.

The Daiichi complex suffered a triple meltdown after being hit by a tsunami in March 2011. At the time, a large amount of radioactive materials were discharged into the air and ocean. But over three years later, much of the radioactive material released has passed its half-life and cleanup work has brought radiation levels down to levels comparable with other parts of the country, spokesmen of local governments told The Wall Street Journal.

The Fukushima Prefectural government is also considering to lodging its own protest, a spokesman said. “We check the safety of all rice. We have made huge efforts to prevent misunderstandings about safety. This may hurt our efforts,” he said in a telephone conversation.

The outcry, which started on the Internet and spilled over onto print and broadcast media, prompted the publisher of the weekly magazine that the manga appeared in, Shogakukan Inc., to look into the matter. It contacted several experts and local governments, including the town of Futaba, asking for their thoughts and advice about how best to express its own views on the issue. A Shogakukan spokesman said the company will run a news article in the magazine later this month clarifying its stance.

Expressing concerns about radiation has become a sensitive subject in Fukushima in the wake of the nuclear disaster. Even among residents who have decided to stay in the prefecture, those who openly express opposition to nuclear power have received threatening phone calls to quit “hampering rebuilding” or move away.

And while the manga is clearly fictional, the controversy illustrates just how influential the medium is in Japan. Revolving around the world of cooking and food culture, Oishinbo has been running for some 30 years and is considered by some in Japan to be “the Bible of foodies.”

 

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/05/09/fukushima-watch-long-running-foodie-manga-touches-nerve/

 

漫画:福島をどう描くか 「当事者」の漫画家3人に聞く

毎日新聞 2014年05月31日 11時11分(最終更新 05月31日 12時44分)

竜田一人「いちえふ (1)」(講談社)

拡大写真

東日本大震災、東京電力福島第1原発事故後の福島を舞台にした漫画が注目を集めている。漫画家たちは福 島をどのような視点で、なぜ描くのか。原発で働いた経験を描いたルポ漫画「いちえふ 福島第一原子力発電所労働記」(講談社)の竜田一人(たつた・かず と)さん▽福島県天栄村在住で福島と食の関係を探った「そばもん」(小学館)の山本おさむさん▽同県白河市在住で、原発事故からの再生に奔走する高校生た ちを取材に基づき描いた「はじまりのはる」(講談社)の端野(はの)洋子さん−−の3人に聞いた。いずれも福島に関わりを持つ「当事者」だ。

竜田さんは自称「売れない漫画家」。職を転々としながら商業誌などで描いてきたが、震災を機に被災地で 働こうと思い立ち、福島第1原発(通称1F=いちえふ)で作業員として働いた。この経験を基に描いた「いちえふ」は「大所高所に立たない、下から目線」に 徹したという。「私は所詮、下っ端にすぎないので、1Fの作業員を代表してとか、福島ではこうなっているとか、全体を代表する物言いにはならないように気 を使っています」

編集者がつけたコピーは「『フクシマの真実』を暴く漫画ではない」だ。竜田さんは「『真実』が何かなん て私にはわからないし、現場にぱっと行って『真実』を私がつかんでしまうなんてことはあり得ない。この漫画は『真実』を探ることよりも、私が見てきたこと を描くことが重要だと思っています。福島なり1Fの一側面を記録することがすべて」と語る。(インタビュー全文はhttp://mainichi.jp/feature/news/20140522mog00m040007000c.html

山本おさむ「そばもん 第1集」(小学館)

拡大写真

山本さんは「ビッグコミック」(小学館)で連載中の「そばもん」で、福島県産食材と放射性物質の問題を取り上げ た。震災前は妻の両親の実家があった天栄村に暮らし、さいたま市の作業場に通う生活を送っていたが、原発事故後は家族とともに埼玉県内に自主避難した。現 在、往復生活を再開した山本さんが重視したのは「空間線量と食べ物に含まれる放射性物質の検査結果」だった。

 

漫画:福島をどう描くか 「当事者」の漫画家3人に聞く

毎日新聞 2014年05月31日 11時11分(最終更新 05月31日 12時44分)

竜田一人「いちえふ (1)」(講談社)

拡大写真

連載では食品の計測結果を取り上げ、数値と事実を提示する。「事実やデータを無視し、主張先行で話を展 開すれば、批判を受けるのは当然のこと」(山本さん)。山本さんは数値が低いから安全だという話で終わらせず、生産者への「信頼」も重視する。「生産者の 努力のおかげで僕は(天栄村に)帰れたのです。だから、感謝を込めて、ありがたくいただくのです」(全文はhttp://mainichi.jp/feature/news/20140523mog00m040011000c.html

端野洋子「はじまりのはる 第1巻」(講談社)

拡大写真

端野さんは福島県西郷村で生まれ、現在は白河市に住む。「はじまりのはる」で県内の高校生らを主人公にした。単 行本の2巻では「理系で科学好きだが、人の心の機微にうとい男子高校生」研一を主人公に据えた。研一の実家は原木シイタケ農家。放射性物質でシイタケ栽培 が打撃を受け、廃業を余儀なくされる中、故郷の再生に向けて奔走する姿を、関係者への綿密な取材を基に描いた。

端野さんの実家も林業で生計を立てているが、同じように打撃を受けた。「父が震災後、ぽつりと漏らした のが『こんな状況でも俺が自殺しないのは死ぬ度胸が無いからだ』という言葉でした」。取材に加え、ボランティア活動にも参加している端野さんは「分別」を 重視する。「同じ福島県民でも、津波の被害にあったり強制避難になったりした人たちとの間で自分の立場をわきまえることは大事だと思います。分別せずに踏 み込むと信頼を失うことにつながります」と語る。(全文はhttp://mainichi.jp/feature/news/20140528mog00m040012000c.html

 

Life at Fukushima No. 1 gets manga treatment

by Yuri Kageyama

AP

  • Mar 26, 2014

Article history

First off, no one who works at Tepco’s wrecked nuclear plant calls it Fukushima “Dai-ichi,” comic book artist Kazuto Tatsuta says in his book about his time on the job. It’s “ichi efu,” or 1F.

It’s not “hell on earth,” but a life filled with a careful routine to protect against radiation.

A good part of the day is spent putting on and taking off protective layer after layer: hazmat suits, gloves, boots and filtered masks. Even bus and van interiors are covered in plastic.

Workers say they will lose their jobs if they talk to reporters and their bosses find out. That makes Tatsuta’s manga, “1F: The Labor Diary Of Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant,” a rare look at the nuclear complex that suffered three meltdowns after the 2011 tsunami and will take decades to decommission.

Tatsuta worked at the plant from June to December 2012, in part because he was struggling as a manga artist, but “1F” is his biggest success yet.

The opening episode won a newcomer award and was published last year in Morning, a weekly manga magazine with a circulation of 300,000. The first several episodes are coming out as a book next month, and publisher Kodansha Ltd. plans on turning “1F” into a series.

Tatsuta said “1F” is not about taking sides in the debate over nuclear power, but simply a story of what it’s like to work there.

“I just want to keep a record for history. I want to record what life was like, what I experienced,” he said in his studio outside Tokyo this week.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. rarely provides media access to the inner workings of the plant, except for orchestrated media tours.

Tatsuta is a pen name. The 49-year-old artist asked that his real name not be used for fear of being barred from working at the No. 1 plant in the future.

He said the job is surprisingly similar to other construction work, which also carries its risks, such as flying sparks and crashing walls.

“I never felt I was in physical danger. You can’t see radiation,” he said.

Tatsuta’s story, complete with drawings of shattered reactor buildings, brings to life everyday details — how gloves get drenched with sweat, or how annoyingly itchy a nose can get behind the mask.

Laughter and camaraderie fill the rest area, where drinks and food are plentiful but there are no flushing toilets. In one telling scene, an elderly worker says: “This is like going to war.” Drawings show the daily routine, different kinds of masks, the layout of the grounds.

After Tatsuta had to quit when his radiation exposure neared the annual legal limit of 20 millisieverts, he decided to put down what he had undergone in manga.

Almost every profession — baseball player, salaryman, samurai, chef — has been depicted in manga. But no manga had ever depicted the life of the nuclear worker.

Tatsuta stressed that he does not want to glorify them but insists they deserve to get paid more. The work starts at about \8,000 a day, although it goes up to \20,000 per day for the most dangerous tasks.

Tepco declined to directly comment on the book. “It’s just manga,” said spokesman Koichiro Shiraki, who has read the work.

The Facebook link to the English translation of an excerpt from “1F” can be found at www.facebook.com/ichiefu/posts/1415129962074416 .

 

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