Fukushima and the Arts: Negotiating Nuclear Disaster, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Fukushima and the Arts

Negotiating Nuclear Disaster, 1st Edition

Edited by Barbara Geilhorn, Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt


230 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

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The natural and man-made cataclysmic events of the 11 March 2011 disaster, or 3.11, have dramatically altered the status quo of contemporary Japanese society. While much has been written about the social, political, economic, and technical aspects of the disaster, this volume represents one of the first in-depth explorations of the cultural responses to the devastating tsunami, and in particular the ongoing nuclear disaster of Fukushima.

This book explores a wide range of cultural responses to the Fukushima nuclear calamity by analyzing examples from literature, poetry, manga, theatre, art photography, documentary and fiction film, and popular music. Individual chapters examine the changing positionality of post-3.11 northeastern Japan and the fear-driven conflation of time and space in near-but-far urban centers; explore the political subversion and nostalgia surrounding the Fukushima disaster; expose the ambiguous effects of highly gendered representations of fear of nuclear threat; analyze the musical and poetic responses to disaster; and explore the political potentialities of theatrical performances. By scrutinizing various media narratives and taking into account national and local perspectives, the book sheds light on cultural texts of power, politics, and space.

Providing an insight into the post-disaster Zeitgeist as expressed through a variety of media genres, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Japanese Studies, Japanese Culture, Popular Culture, and Literature Studies.


'Fukushima and the Arts provides a fascinating view onto the manifold ways in which artists from different genres have dealt with the triple catastrophe of March 11, 2011, while at the same time also showing similarities in their responses.'

Reviewed by Barbara Holthus, German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo

The Journal of Japanese Studies, Volume 44, Number 2, Summer 2018

Table of Contents

  1. Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt and Barbara Geilhorn
  2. Negotiating Nuclear Disaster: an Introduction

  3. Rachel DiNitto
  4. Literature Maps Disaster: The Contending Narratives of 3.11 Fiction

  5. Scott Aalgaard
  6. Summertime Blues: Musical Critique in the Aftermaths of Japan’s ‘Dark Spring’

  7. Pablo Figueroa
  8. Subversion and Nostalgia in Art Photography of the Fukushima Disaster

  9. Saeko Kimura
  10. Uncanny Anxiety: Literature after Fukushima

  11. Hideaki Fujiki
  12. Problematizing Life: Documentary Films on the 3.11 Nuclear Catastrophe

  13. Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt
  14. Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Resistance, Self-responsibility, and Female Hysteria in Sono Sion’s Land of Hope

  15. Cody Poulton
  16. Antigone in Japan: Life and Death in ‘Fukushima’

  17. Jeffrey Angles
  18. Poetry in an Era of Nuclear Power: Three Poetic Responses to Fukushima

  19. Barbara Geilhorn
  20. Challenging Reality with Fiction: Imagining Alternative Readings of Japanese Society in Post-Fukushima Theatre

  21. Lorie Brau
  22. Oishinbo’s Fukushima Elegy: Grasping for the truth about radioactivity in a food manga

  23. Kyōko Iwaki

The Politics of the Senses: Takayama Akira’s Atomized Theatre after Fukushima

About the Editors

Barbara Geilhorn is a JSPS-postdoctoral fellow based at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. Her publications include Enacting Culture: Japanese Theater in Historical and Modern Contexts, co-edited with Eike Grossmann (iudicium, 2012).

Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt is an Associate Professor of Japanese modern literature at Nagoya University, Japan. Her recent publications include Visions of Precarity in Japanese Popular Culture and Literature, co-edited with Roman Rosenbaum (Routledge 2015).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies