• Kyodo


A woman who fled her hometown near the Fukushima No. 1 power plant during the nuclear crisis in 2011 has published an illustrated book depicting the struggles of those who were forced to relocate by the radioactive fallout.

With the book titled “Someday . . . A story of a Mother Relocated from Fukushima,” written in Japanese, Nana Aihara, a former kindergarten teacher in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, hopes to convey to future generations the experience and hardships she and her fellow residents suffered.

Before the disaster, the 36-year-old Minamisoma native lived in Kashima Ward, just over 30 km north of the aging and poorly protected power plant.

Prompted by the triple core meltdown triggered by the mega-quake and tsunami, Aihara decided to evacuate to the Osaka area to escape the fallout.

She moved to Toyonaka two months later in May, with her husband and her daughter and son, then 4 and 2.

The family, however, faced difficulty adjusting to their new surroundings while dealing with the loss of their home.

The situation became more complicated as her husband, who was in the fishing industry at the time, could not find a stable job. Their daughter was finding it hard to adjust to the area and kept fighting with other kids at her new kindergarten.

After struggling to answer her daughter when she asked “Why do we have to be here?” Aihara, now a social worker, decided to publish an illustrated book with help from an acquaintance.

In January, 300 copies of the book were distributed to libraries, kindergartens and other institutions in the city.

In the book, Aihara describes her memories of the ordeal, such as the quake’s intense shaking, the radiation fears and the homesickness she has felt since leaving the area.

“I want everyone to understand how the people of Fukushima who are separated from their hometowns strive to live on in various locations across the country,” Aihara said.

The contents of the book have been uploaded onto a social welfare website and can be viewed until March 11 at www.toyonaka-shakyo.or.jp/pdf/ehon.pdf.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.