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.”

Community of women at a table

Takahashi Kenkichi is head of the Onodai temporary housing district, home to many evacuees of the tsunami.

Chikara Ara

Chikara Ara nearly lost everything when the tsunami hit in 2011. Fortunately, he had this camera with him.

Nanako Imai looking out a train window

Nanako Imai, a Fukushima University student, shares her experience of the earthquake and how she sees the positives of the disaster.

Natsuko Yoshida standing in the street

Namie remains a ghost town even three and a half years after the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear meltdown.

Tomoko Endo

Women from Tomioka share what happened, before, during, and after the disaster.

Out in nature by Cunningham

A poem by student Lorisa Salvatin.