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.”

Katsuichi Kato

Chiba Katsuichi is part of a wave of individuals trying to help rebuild Fukushima. They hope to tap the famed hot springs for new resources.

Sae Ochi

A public health specialist warns that people are still dying in Fukushima Prefecture, but not from nuclear radiation.

Shinichi Katahira

The battle to save Fukushima’s most famous fruit. If there’s one thing that Fukushima is famous for, it’s peaches.

Students in city

Student Lorisa Salvatin hosted a Japanese high schooler for the weekend through the Tomadachi Softbank Summer Leadership Program.

William McMichael

William McMichael hopes to rebuild the image of the prefecture, with much help from Fukushima University students.

Nabou Kano outside

Nobou Kano, 58, from Namie was diagnosed with heart disease from the stress following the tsunami.