‘Our friends in Fukushima’

As part of our activities on Fukushima.

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Hope – This has been the focus of my thoughts since the East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011, but where and how can I find it?

In December 2011, I was asked by an environmental radiation scientist in Glasgow to identify his possible collaborators in Japan.  I contacted Fukushima University, only national university in Fukushima Prefecture.  The university was not teaching nuclear science, but, according to its home page, there was a radiation assessment team formed immediately after the accident.  The team might be interested in European expertise.

In addition to supporting the academic collaboration, which has been developed well, we visited Fukushima University in July 2012 with David Allison to show his ‘St Kilda Tapes‘ to its students.  They discussed with us about their recent experience by referring to the video’s theme of ‘home’.  We felt a role for outsiders, like us, to play as a catalyst for people in Fukushima to cope with their situation.

Fukushima Prefecture is 166 km (103 miles) from east to west and 133 km (83 miles) from north to south, with about 2 million residents. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is along the eastern coast, and Fukushima University is 60 km (37 miles) north-west of the plant across mountains.

Through meeting with various Fukushima academics and students in Glasgow and Fukushima, we have started to see a glimpse of hope in them.  In December 2012 we visited Fukushima University to record their stories to be shown in Glasgow at the Japan Matters to mark the  the second anniversary of the accident.

The idea of making this documentary emerged through carrying out various activities in 2012: (July) visiting Fukushima University and others to screen ‘St Kilda Tapes’ and to lead a workshop on the theme of ‘home’; (August) organising a talk by Katsuhiko Yamaguchi, who led Fukushima University’s radiation assessment team, at the inaugural Japan Matters public lecture in Glasgow; and (Sept) organising a talk by Miyuki Sasaki, a student at Fukushima University, at Cumbernauld High School, North Lanarkshire, Scotland.

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Camera: Fumi Nakabachi
Editor: Hajime Kobayashi
Producers: Fumi Nakabachi and Yushin Toda
40 minutes
In Japanese with English subtitles
©Japan Desk Scotland 2013
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This is the first documentary created by Japan Desk Scotland as part of its documentary films production.  It has been screened:

(1) on Sunday 10 March 2013 as part of ‘Japan Matters: The second anniversary of the East Japan Earthquake‘ at St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Glasgow, Scotland;

(2) on Sunday 21 April 2013 as part of ‘Michi Biraki Festival‘ organised by Department of Japanese Language and Literature, University of Bucharest, at the Botanic Gardens, Bucharest, Romania;

(3) on Saturday 4 May 2013 as part of JDS’s Saturday Japanese Class, Glasgow, Scotland;

(4) on Wednesday 22 May 2013 as part of the ‘Japanese Workshops’ at Whitburn Academy, West Lothian, Scotland;

(5) on Wednesday 26 June 2013 as a Faculty Development project by the Faculty of Humanities and Economics, Kochi University, Kochi, Japan;

(6) on Wednesday 12 February 2014 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Japan@Strathclyde 2013/14;

(7) on Wednesday 30 April 2014 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of ‘Fukushima, Hiroshima, Fukushima‘.

(8) on Tuesday 10 June 2014 at Interfaith Room, University of Glasgow Chaplaincy, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Fukushima, Hiroshima, Fukushima;

(9) on Monday 16 June 2014 at Cumbernauld High School, North Lanarkshire, Scotland;

(10) on Saturday 21 June 2014 at GZO Peace Institute, Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, The Philippines;

(11) on Friday 13 February 2015 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Japan@Strathclyde 2014/15;

(12) on Tuesday 10 March 2015 at the International Study Group run by Japan Desk Scotland at the Interfaith Room, University of Glasgow Chaplaincy;

(13) on Thursday 23 April 2015 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Japan@Strathclyde 2014/15;

(14) on Tuesday 7 July 2015 at the Tuesday Seminar, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan; and

(15) on Wednesday 17 February 2016 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Japan@Strathclyde 2015/16.