Facing Fukushima: We Are Here

What is it like to live in the aftermath of disaster?

For the people of Fukushima, it means sleepless nights recalling the punishing jolt and “Iron Wave” that ravaged their homes and families. It means living in limbo and worrying about radiation contamination.

And yet post-disaster life also is a time to find new jobs, to raise children and to carry on treasured community customs. This is what a group of San Francisco State University students learned during a reporting trip to Japan in August 2014.

These are the stories of the people of Fukushima who are challenging the odds as if to declare, “We are here.”

Akira Fukuda

Akira Fukuda is part of an effort by Fukushima residents, universities, and representatives to get rid of the stigma of radiation.

Empty street

Namie, located on the coast of the Fukushima prefecture, was damaged by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that followed.

Takahashi Fujiko

Takahashi Fujiko works at Ka-Chan No Chikara, a cafe and boutique started to benefit people who were evacuated from Iitate village.

Decorations at the Obon Festival in Japan

The Obon or Bon Festival in Japan is a three-day Buddhist festival honoring the spirits of ancestors through dance and music.

Watashi Wa

Fukushima University students and the Facing Fukushima group meet for the first time at the university.

Mr. and Mrs. Masako

Meet Masako Matate: self-proclaimed princess, wife, mother of four and survivor of the Great Eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami.