Six SFSU Students Selected for Fukushima Storytelling Project

June 4, 2014

The Dilena Takeyama Center has selected six top San Francisco State University students for an ambitious storytelling project designed to capture the experiences of residents in Fukushima who remain displaced after the massive disaster that struck northeastern Japan in 2011.

The students are Guadalupe Gonzalez, Gavin McIntyre, Lorisa Salvatin, Debbie Svoboda and Natalie Yemenidjian, all associated with the Journalism Department, and Corrine Morier, from the Japanese Language & Literature Program.

The team will be led by Jon Funabiki, a professor of journalism and executive director of the Dilena Takeyama Center, and Sachi Cunningham, an assistant professor of journalism. Also joining the project is Allison Budner of KALW Public Radio, who will be producing stories for her station.

The team will travel to Japan for two weeks in August for meetings and site visits designed to brief them about the impact of the disaster, which was caused by an earthquake, tsunami and the collapse of a nuclear power plant. The students will meet and interview residents who live in large trailer camps. Their own homes are uninhabitable because of physical damage or the threat from radioactive fallout from the power plant.

The students will develop a series of stories about the residents, using their personal stories to address a wide range of recovery issues. The ultimate goal is to raise public awareness in the U.S. about the ongoing recovery needs stemming from the disaster.

The project project, “After the Disaster: Rebuilding Lives and Communities in Fukushima,” was developed by the Dilena Takeyama Center in collaboration with Fukushima National University’s International Center, which invites college students from the U.S. and other countries to get a first-hand look at how the disaster’s impact. The Dilena Takeyama Center, which has conducted other programs related to the disaster, received a grant from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in Tokyo to cover transportation and other costs.

The six students were selected through a competitive process. Faculty of the Japanese Language & Literature Program assisted in the recruitment and selection.