Read Japanese Literature

Fukushima Fiction

March 06, 2023 Alison Fincher Season 2 Episode 8
Read Japanese Literature
Fukushima Fiction
Show Notes

On March 11, 2011, at 2:46pm, one tectonic plate forced its way on top of another 45 miles (or 72 km) off the Eastern coast of Japan. It caused a 9.0 magnitude megathrust earthquake that lasted about six minutes.

The Great East Japan Earthquake triggered a tsunami—a great wave—that may have reached heights up to 133 feet (more than 40 meters). 

The earthquake and tsunami also disabled the reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing several reactors to meltdown.

The government of Tokyo released official death numbers around the tenth anniversary of 3/11 in 2021. It reported 19,759 deaths. 6,242 injuries. And 2,553 missing. Most of the missing are presumed dead.

Hundreds of thousands of people who evacuated the area still haven’t returned home—many never will.

In this episode:

  • Tohoku and its place in Japan's history and culture
  • The response by Japanese writers to the 3/11 disaster
  • Hiromi Kawakami's life and work—especially her stories "God Bless You" and "God Bless You, 2011"

Transcript, notes and sources at the podcast episode website

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