Critical Mass Top 50, 2013

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Yuki Iwanami

Discarded persimmon with the radioactive material exceeds a standard value

Radioactive decontamination wastes in a mountain

Dead cows

Rice fields lying waste

A deserted supermarket’s parking

Radioactive decontamination wastes with a wild cherry tree brossoming

Measuring amount of radiation

A house damaged by the tsunami was left

The newspaper dated 12, Mar, 2011, the day the nuclear power plant exploded

Radioactive decontamination wastes surrounded by beautiful cherry blossom
Yuki Iwanami

“Nobody will return, except for the old people. This village is over”, said Kazuyuki Sato, a resident of Iitate village in Fukushima, Japan, once called the most beautiful village on the earth. Now it is called “abandoned village”, instead. The disaster of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant deprived of the life of the villager instantly. I have been photographing villages and towns in Fukushima, focusing on “invisible destruction” since the disaster happened. Once I had lived in Tohoku area (Northeastern Japan, including Fukushima), for more than 3 years from 2005 to 2008, as a photographer of Japanese newspaper, traveling around Fukushima photographing the tradition in farm lands, or a sunset reflecting on the rice fields, day after day, before the doomsday suddenly came. Now I am taking pictures of the dead cow bodies or the bags contained the radiated soil piled up the hill once was beautiful rice field, carrying the vanished images in my mind. The effect of radioactivity cannot be immediately seen. Since we cannot even know that it is there, it is impossible to see or photograph the damage. Nevertheless, gradually as a time passes, some changes can be seen. To someone like me who knows the area from before the disaster, the changes are weird and horrible. “Water comes from the mountains to the rice field, and nobody can decontaminate all mountains. Deprived soil never comes back”, said a farmer. They cannot return to their hometown, probably during they are alive, since the land are polluted high dose of radiation. This disaster is supposed to be over as more than 2 years passed and it became an event of the past. However the land continues to get ruined, and so are the communities. In near future, the invisible destruction will cause various phenomena, I keep recording the discarded landscape, people in the area. My project is to carve a sharp relief of Fukushima, scared deeply wounded by the disaster of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.