Why Manga Matters after Fukushima

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Yasuhito Abe


The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011 has created an alternative space for reportage and journalism. While much research has investigated how mainstream news media reported the Fukushima disaster in Japan and elsewhere, virtually absent is a scholarly investigation of the role of new media artworks in shaping what it means to be the Fukushima nuclear crisis. This study thus focuses on the role of Japanese manga among various new media artworks, and investigates how the disaster was represented in comics form.

 Among various Japanese manga on the Fukushima disaster, this paper focuses on examining a Japanese manga titled as Ichi Efu: Fukushima Daiichi genshiryoku hatsudensho rōdōki or 1F: A cleanup worker’s account of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (thereafter, 1F) written by Kazuto Tatsuta, one of the Japanese cleanup workers at the wrecked power plant. Originally published in Morning, a Japanese weekly manga magazine in 2013, 1F illuminates what the consequences of the Fukushima disaster looked like from the perspectives of a cleanup worker, providing an uncommon view of Fukushima for a wide variety of audiences including comic fans in Japan and elsewhere.   

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