‘Gourmet’ comic stokes Fukushima ire

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

The popular manga series “Oishinbo” came under fire again Monday after a character based on a real-life former mayor refers to Fukushima Prefecture in its latest issue as unlivable because of the radiation leaking from the ruined power plant there.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government fired back at the publisher the same day, saying no health problems have been reported as a result of the release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

In a separate statement, the Osaka Prefectural Government took issue with the assertion, expressed by a character based on real-life medical expert Eisuke Matsui, that about 800 people living around an incinerator there have been affected by burning tsunami debris tainted with radiation from Tohoku.

The character based on real-life Futaba ex-Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa at one point says in Monday’s installment: “You can no longer live in Fukushima.” Futaba is one of the two towns that host the Fukushima plant.

“Oishinbo,” which translates as “Gourmets” and usually deals with food and drink, caused a stir last week when a previous installment suggested many residents of the prefecture got nosebleeds caused by radioactive fallout from the plant.

In a written statement, the Fukushima Prefectural Government said no health problems in the prefecture have been linked to leaked radiation and that the manga would only serve to fan unfounded fears both at home and abroad. Authorities also expressed concern that the series’ depictions would damage its agricultural, fisheries and tourism industries.

Similarly, the Osaka Prefectural Government claimed that no local doctors or authorities have received reports of ill health due to debris incinerated in the city’s Maishima area, contradicting the assertion made by the manga’s character Matsui.

The incinerator has burned about 15,300 tons of tsunami debris from Iwate Prefecture. At every stage of the disposal, the radiation level was stable and low enough to be safe, the government said.

“We . . . definitely cannot tolerate (the descriptions). It’s extremely regrettable,” the Fukushima government said in the statement, urging the publisher to consult various experts and scientific organizations, including those under the United Nations.

On the same day, the publisher, Shogakukan Inc., posted a comment on its website saying the episodes “have not asserted” that the symptoms were definitely caused by radioactive materials from the Fukushima plant.

Shogakukan said it plans to carry “a special feature article” summarizing the opinions of various experts and readers, including critics, next week on its website.

  • kyushuphil

    Can TEPCO and the government go back to the era of massive, outright lying?
    The American C.I.A. 50 years ago sponsored ten-year, multi-million-dollar PR campaign of blatant lying on the happiness and safety of nukes. They did this not outright as C.I.A., but as cover organizations — and they did it to enable General Electric, Shaw Construction, and many other U.S. firms to make millions in profit for themselves if only the lies would work.
    They worked. U.S. banks and other corporate firms rushed in on the promises of easy, cheap, safe rivers of energy and joined Japanese partners in the construction of a consumer culture here to rival that in America. Shopping malls with massive parking lagoons around them. Cars. Highways. Neon. Robot girl pop groups. None of it could have happened without the originating campaign of lies.
    But maybe it’s not necessary for TEPCO and the government to go back and imitate the C.I.A. and U.S. corporate lies. Japan has a culture in the schools where kids do not learn to question or to see larger contexts by writing essays — or by anything else. Everyone suffers the culture of depersonalized cramming. Everyone thinks conformity is so much so the only way that everyone also forgets the great individuals of Japanese culture who indeed could and did provide perspectives and needed questions as individuals.

    • Hudson E

      The CIA made neon lights? Surely you have some proof of this?

      • kyushuphil

        The consumerism in J mega features neon.

        Of course the C.I>A. didn’t “make” the actual neon.

        It’s the nukes, supposedly cheap and supposedly safe, that allowed, enabled, encouraged that and all the other sprawling waste, all the other false promises of U.S.-style materialism in Japan gone kawaii berserk..

      • Hudson E

        You claimed the CIA made neon lights. Now you’re backpeddling as fast as you can away from that statement. Is there anything else you’d like to retract before it all gets unravelled here in front of everyone?

      • kyushuphil

        Here is the only reference to neon, exactly as I made it:

        “U.S. banks and other corporate firms rushed in on the promises of easy, cheap, safe rivers of energy and joined Japanese partners in the construction of a consumer culture here to rival America’s excessive own. Shopping malls with massive parking lagoons around them. Cars. Highways. More cars. Neon. Robot girl pop groups. None of it could have happened without the originating campaign of lies.”

        The C.I.A. campaign of lies facilitated — enabled — “U.S. banks and other corporate firms” to partner with Japanese firms for that consumerism which highly included neon.

        These are the facts, Hudson. This is the history. And the words quoted above accurately get what you cannot.

      • kyushuphil

        It occurs to me that you may be asking about the C.I.A. larger role.

        If so, Google “the criminal roots of Japan’s nuclear industry.”
        That will lead you to the history of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, begun in 1954 with Matsutaro Shoriki, a former secret police agent, in charge of the links between Japan and the American C.I.A. campaign in Japan.

        If you are too “shocked, shocked” to imagine American evil, check out John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” He was an agent for some of the worst C.I.A. evils around the world — this book, his first-hand account.

  • Starviking

    Of course, the problem with the Osaka incinerator claim is that none of the coastal areas of Iwate received significant fallout.

  • June

    This story is based on the real story. More like documentary rather than comic. Many journalists in Japan admit it. I am Japanese and heard from lots of friends and some journalists they are from Fukushima or visited there. I don’t say nosebleed is related to radiation (as you can’t verify it yet – especially of those who had nosebleed before Fukushima npp accident) but I am pretty much doubtful. For some people’s case, too much, massive nosebleeds colouring toilet bowl all red… Of course it does not happen to everyone as each person has different immune level. Some of them never had nosebleed before Fukushima npp accident. Fukushima governor is liar and criminal who introduced mox to Fukushima daiichi npp.

    • Thomas Ralph Nissen

      The Fukushima governor is not a liar. This comic book is nonsense. I have lived here in Fukushima for 25 years. I’ve had no nosebleeds, nor have my children or anyone I know. We have all had the “full body count” screening and have levels of exposure that are no danger to health. The biggest problem we have here is stress, much of it caused by harmful rumors started by people like this writer. There are also those anti-nuclear “activists” that seem to believe it is not important to be factual, just sensational. And these folks don’t give a damn about the people here in Fukushima anyway. They only care about their agenda.

  • yas

    Freedom of expression must be guaranteed.But it had better been with responsible.

    A person,living Fukushima often had nosebleed.and he and the author believed it caused by radioactive.

    It is not scientifically proven. If it’s truth he might be good. contrary not truth he is very bad for Fukusima.

    • Starviking

      And many Japanese people are prone to nosebleeds anyway.

  • Kenta

    Wow, what an argument. “No health problems have been reported as a result of the release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima No. 1 plant.” Of course there won’t be any official reports that connect health problems or deaths to that matter. Especially now, after the government forced the new secrecy law upon the country. Let’s get real. And this manga’s author has done a 2-year research on this and has actually gone to Fukushima, talked to the people living there. So it’s not fiction.

    • Starviking

      Ah, so we get our scientific info from the reports of manga authors now?

    • Sam Gilman

      I really think it’s unwise to declare something well-”researched” without checking.

      The whole nosebleed thing was dreamt up by someone who decided that every time someone tweeted in Japanese that they had a nosebleed, it was due to Fukushima. No matter where the person was in Japan. Or the world. It’s just silly.

      Not only is this meaningless research, nosebleeds are not a known symptom of low level radiation exposure.

      I’m interested to know why you were so quick to insist the story must be valid. It’s impossible to have grounded this in the quality of the research, so why did you so easily accept it?