On March 11, 2011 the most powerful earthquakes in Japan's recorded history devastated the north east of Japan, triggering a massive tsunami with waves as high as 130 feet and traveled as far as six miles inland. As a result, three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex experienced level seven meltdowns. The triple disaster, known as 3.11, had 15,899 confirmed deaths with 3529 people still missing. On five separate journeys, Japanese-born performer and dancer Eiko Otake and historian and photographer William Johnston, visited multiple locations across the Fukushima prefecture. The powerful photographs, selected from tens of thousands that Otake and Johnston created, document the irradiated landscape and how Eiko placed her lone body in those spaces. Each photograph is a performance across time and space, rewarding a viewer's intent gaze. The book includes essays and commentary reflecting on art, disaster, grief, and violated dignity of an irradiated Fukushima.
Foreword • Time • "Going to Fukushima," Eiko Otake • PHOTOS 2014 Winter • "Being in Fukushima," Eiko Otake • PHOTOS 2014 Summer • "Red Silk Cloth," Eiko Otake • "Working with Eiko," William Johnston • PHOTOS 2016 • "Obituary of Hayashi Kyoko," Eiko Otake • PHOTOS 2017 • "Working with Fukushima Photographs," Eiko Otake • PHOTOS 2019 • "Changed Seashore," Eiko Otake • "Disasters Fast and Slow: History, Photography, and the Environment," William Johnston • Photos Five Places • "Movement, Time, Places," Eiko Otake • Maps • Timeline • Acknowledgments
"What would bring someone to travel thousands of miles to the still toxic site of a monumental disaster in order to perform in the evacuated silence for a camera? What are the ethical dimensions of such an act? What place does beauty have in the wake of massive trauma? Who has the right to speak, to dance, to situate themselves in places from which others were forcibly extracted? This book is a record of two significant, internationally-oriented artists as they struggle with such questions and resolve that, as Akira Kurosawa once said, 'To be an artist means never to look away.'"
"Otake and Johnston's stunning collaborative work will forever haunt us with a sense of belatedness. It compels us to consider the longue durée of 3.11 disaster and its connectedness to many losses, pain and the ongoing structural injustices in Fukushima and beyond."~Lisa Yoneyama, author of Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space and the Dialectics of Memory and award-winning Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes
"Oscillating across dance and photography, movement and stillness, poetry and prose, history and the everyday, anger and hope—a stunning testament to both the beauty and sadness of Fukushima."~Takashi Fujitani, Dr. David Chu, Professor of Asia-Pacific Studies, University of Toronto
"In this luminous record of bearing witness to post-nuclear catastrophe, testimony and poetry move together with William Johnston's pellucid photographs of movement artist Eiko Otake as she performatively embodies the irradiated landscapes of Fukushima. A Body in Fukushima is riveting, gorgeous, not to be forgotten."~Marilyn Ivy, author of Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, and Japan