Manga addresses nuclear meltdown

Updated: 2014-07-02 09:42

By Elaine Lies in Tokyo (China Daily/Agencies)

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Manga addresses nuclear meltdown

A Japanese manga Ichi Efu (second from right), which centers on workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is seen in a bookstore in Tokyo. Reuters

Japanese farmers in Fukushima try to convince skeptical visitors that their crops are safe from radiation. Blood trickles from the nose of a reporter who visits the area.

These are just two of the tales from the aftermath of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years - as told by manga, Japan's ubiquitous comics for adults and teens, which have taken up Fukushima on an unprecedented scale even as Japanese film largely avoids the topic.

Ichi Efu, which centers on workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, has sold 170,000 copies in book form in nearly two months, rare for a debut manga. Another manga set off a furor that sparked angry responses from the government, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As Fukushima fades from the public spotlight, publishers say they hope manga will spark debate about uncomfortable topics, such as the health impact of the accident, which released radiation over a wide swathe of northeastern Japan.

In contrast to the more than 30 manga published since the disaster, there has been only one mass-market film to date on Fukushima - Homeland, released in March. Its director was careful to emphasize the human story over any political statements during publicity tours.

The nuclear disaster, set off by a tsunami that tore through the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and touched off meltdowns, remains a sensitive subject in Japan.

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