My poem FUKUSHIMA with Music by Darrell Craig Harris

Talented, intelligent and kind musician Darrell Craig Harris and I collaborate online on my poem “Fukushima.”

The poem is part of my theater piece and film NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet.

FUKUSHIMA a poem by Yuri Kageyama

It’s a Meltdown nation

Since Three-Eleven

Covered in the fear

Of unseen radiation

But don’t you expect

Any revolution

All you will find

Is fear and contamination.

Here in Fukushima

It rhymes with Hiroshima

Instead of a holler

Hear just a whimper

They say it is safe

The kids like Chernobyl

Are coming down sick

With Thyroid cancer.

Fukushima

Fukushima

Fukushima

Y’all, it’s no hallucination

The refugees’ life

No compensation

No resolution

Just nuclear explosions

Get your dosimeter

Cesium in the water

Lost Imagination

Here in Fukushima

It rhymes with Hiroshima

The radiated Brothers

Faces are hidden

Goggles and masks

Like an astronaut

From head to toe

The Invisible workers

Fukushima

Fukushima

Fukushima

Premature aging

Nerve cells dying

Sterility, deformity

Unborn baby

Blood count dissipation

Leukemia debilitation

DNA radiation

Godzilla’s affliction

Tsunami Demolition

God’s DeCreation

Genetic Devastation

Our next Generation.

Here in Fukushima

It rhymes with Hiroshima

No-go zones forever

The World must remember.

Fukushima

Fukushima

Fukushima

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet _ now a film

 

OUR “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA” now honored at film festivals around the world:

Official Selection Vancouver Independent Film Festival January 2021.

Official Selection Toronto International Women Film Festival January 2021.

Best Documentary Official Selection Rome International Movie Awards January 2021.

Finalist Official Selection Flixze Film Festival Jan. 5 ~ 6, 2021.

Official Selection Kalakari Film Festival May 15, 2021.

GRAND FESTIVAL AWARD – CINE DANCE POEM and WORLD PREMIERE at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival SAT Nov. 2, 2019, 6 p.m. East Bay Media Center Performance Space

Official Selection Royal Wolf Film Awards December 2020. 

NOMINATED BEST DOCUMENTARY BIMIFF – Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival November 2020.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Madras Independent Film Festival October 2020 Edition.

BEST EXPERIMENTAL DOCUMENTARY Sicily Independent Film Awards August 2020. 

FINALIST Official Selection Montreal Independent Film Festival September 2020.

Official Selection Motion Pictures International Film Festival November 2020. 

Official Selection Silent River Film Festival in California August 2020.

Official Selection Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival June 2020.

Select Showcase Official Selection at the Guam International Film Festival (2019~2020), airing on PBS Guam June 2020.

Official Selection ARTS X SDGS film festival New York April 2020.

Official Selection 2020 Oniros Film Awards in Italy.

Finalist Best Asian Feature Film at the New Vision International Film Festival in Amsterdam September 2019.   

Screened online at the Toronto Film Channel Aug. 31, 2020.

Screened online at the Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival Dec. 9, 2020 through Dec. 15, 2020.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet
Written by Yuri Kageyama | Directed by Carla Blank

Film directed by Yoshiaki Tago with camera work by Tago and Kate McKinley. Editing by Eri Muraki.

 “Yuri, you did a great job. Stay hard and blunt and don’t mince words. Yours was a powerful reflection on the corruption and greed of men and their indifference to human life.” _ Ishmael Reed.

Photo by  Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

 

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

 

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

 

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

 

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

 

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

For the San Francisco performance, we had genuine Bon Daiko drum music performed by Isaku Kageyama with shakuhachi and fue by Kouzan Kikuchi, joined by Joe Small (taiko/percussion) and Stomu Takeishi (bass), delivering mesmerizing renditions of Bon and minyo from Fukushima, as well as other Japanese tunes. The Bon idea of the dead’s homecoming and the abstracted repetitive dancing in a circle serve as a symbol of the piece’s message of death, yearning for family and future generations, and gratitude for the harvest and peaceful everyday life. Juxtaposed with the experimental choreography by the director Carla Blank, incorporating collaborations with the performers, Takemi Kitamura, Monisha Shiva and Shigeko Sara Suga, Bon dance was transformed on the American stage, and presented as a dignified and artistic motif of modern movement. Bon Odori continues to bring people together in the Japanese American community _ and communities all over Japan.

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

 

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

 

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

 

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

From the director
This performance is a collaboration among all its participants, some who have worked together since 2015, and some who in 2017 helped create this new development of the piece. Through email conversations and intensive rehearsals we arrived at our choices of the particular dramatic scenes, music, video, dances and other action you will see. The Bon Odori dances and music, which provide transitions between the scenes, are based on traditional celebrations that occur throughout Japan during the late summer to honor the ancestors: Soma Bon Uta and Aizu Bandaisan from Fukushima, Yagi Bushi from Tochigi and Gunma near Tokyo, and Tanko Bushi from Fukuoka, besides Tokyo Ondo, which continues throughout Bon Odori (The Death Dance). Great thanks to Takemi Kitamura, who taught us the four dances you will see and who also created the movement for the Prologue solo and Epilogue trio, inspired by a line dance from Aizu, the westernmost region of Fukushima, where annually it is offered in remembrance of 19 of the over 300 Byakkotai warriors , teen-age sons of samurai in the White Tiger Battalion who in 1868, during the Boshin Civil War, committed ritual disembowelment (seppuku or hara-kiri) because they mistakenly believed a fire had consumed their lord’s castle, which would mean their city had been captured and their families killed. For me, this dance particularly resonates because of where it comes from, how contemporary its formal choices appear, and how as the strokes of the blades go every which direction, it becomes a metaphor for the ways life can slice us also. It has been my great pleasure to realize Yuri Kageyama’s work with all these wonderful, dedicated performers.

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

 

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

 

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

 

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Ishmael Reed came up with the title for my performance piece: “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet.” As that suggests, the piece is about my vision as a poet. My spoken word pieces, delivered to accompaniment of various kinds of music, address racism, stereotyping, sexism and the search for love. They seek to address what society sees as “bigger” issues, such as the Fukushima accident, the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the journalistic mission. For me, they are all connected.

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

 

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

All those themes provide the driving force in my storytelling that has over the years always sought to bring closer to home the perennial repetition of people’s betrayal, selfishness and smallness.
The Fukushima disaster is the biggest story of my life _ both as poet and journalist, those sides of my writing identity which have in the past remained so painfully separate. They have now come together. We have all come together in this effort _ all of us, of different backgrounds, cultures and disciplines. We have become one. It is clear we have each done our best to share our talent, our passion and our lives, to raise questions, to connect _ and to bring hope.

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

What people are saying about NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: MEDITATION ON AN UNDER-REPORTED CATASTROPHE BY A POET.

Yuri Kageyama, with her epic poem, has earned a place among the leading world poets. This work proves that the poet as a journalist can expose conditions that are ignored by the media. _ Ishmael Reed poet, essayist, playwright, publisher, lyricist, author of MUMBO JUMBO, THE LAST DAYS OF LOUISIANA RED and THE COMPLETE MUHAMMAD ALI, MacArthur Fellowship, professor at the University of California Berkeley, San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate (2012-2016).

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a commentary on what it means to be human in the 21st Century. While we are divided by race, ethnicity, language, geography and culture, the essence of our humanity remains constant. In NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, the cast, director and playwright all come together to create a montage of courage, uncertainty and hope in the face of disaster. _ Basir Mchawi producer, community organizer and radio show host at WBAI Radio in New York, who has taught at the City University of New York, public schools and independent Black schools.

Awesome music and dancing! The haunting drumming, dazzling satire and the golden heart of a poet in protest. Nothing is under control when the environment is under siege. Aluta! _ Sandile Ngidi poet, Zulu/English translator, journalist and critic.

Her collage-like piece weaves together lyrical monologues, sword dance, film and live music that blends jazz, taiko drumming and minyo folks songs. In the Fukushima of 2017, goes one line late in the play, “the authorities say they are playing it safe, when no one really feels safe.” _ Lily Janiak writer for The San Francisco Chronicle.

A vital story of our times. Spoken word and music from a talented multicultural ensemble. A beacon of light in a darkening world. _ Paul Armstrong artistic director at International Arts Initiatives, a Vancouver-based nonprofit for cultural advancement through the arts and education.

I welcomed NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA _ into my consciousness, with deep gratitude, seeing it twice, two days in succession _ all the while marveling at the tough yet faithful production and its dedication to truth-telling. _ David Henderson poet, co-founder of Umbra and the Black Arts Movement, author of ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KISS THE SKY. JIMI HENDRIX: VOODOO CHILD.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA echoes the mourning of Bon Odori dance to warn us again and again that the nuclear age of post-World War II Japan has never ended. _ Hisami Kuroiwa movie producer and executive for “The Shell Collector,” “”Lafcadio Hearn: His Journey to Ithaca,” “Sunday,” “Bent” and the Silver Bear-winning “Smoke.”

Strong threads of a woman’s point of view …. Excellent ….The issue of motherhood in looking at Fukushima is well done. And the candid shots of Obon in Japan are fantastic in the background. As are the shots of rows and rows of radioactive materials in plastic bags, just left in rows upon rows in Fukushima. I thought the production was very good, technically excellent, and very illustrative of a Japan we don’t hear about after the 2011 triple disaster. Go see it. _ Peter Kenichi Yamamoto poet in San Francisco and coordinator at the National Japanese American Historical Society.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a memorable performance with well-researched narratives that throws you into a quest for humanity. _ Midori Nishimura Stanford University professor and medical doctor.

A powerful message not to forget: Fukushima. _ David Ushijima San Francisco business professional in retail, mobile, sensor-based and connected devices, Internet of Things.

It’s the kind of piece that keeps this from being forgotten. With all the other things going on in this world, we can forget about this, and we have a distance from them. But this kind of piece can remind us to return to it and continually reconsider the choices we make in our society. _ Adam Hartzell writer at koreanfilm.org

Great music …. It left such an impression. A splendid performance. _ Seiko Takada musician, “Kaizoku” vocalist/guitarist.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a powerful artistic response to disaster, informing us and inspiring us to compassion. _ Ravi Chandra San Francisco-Bay Area poet, writer and psychiatrist.

A truly emotional experience. _ Liliana Perez child psychologist and Ph.D.

Fukushima: Excellent musical accompaniment to poignant poetry, with minimal yet imaginative staging and choreography. _ Nana pianist and New Yorker.

What a delight …. See this show and be transported magically. _ George Ferencz co-founder of the Impossible Ragtime Theater, resident director at La MaMa (1982-2008), who has also directed at the Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Berkeley Rep and Cleveland Playhouse.

News that enraptures and engages through Sound. A Poet sings of the unreported calamity at Fukushima. _ Katsumi a Japanese living in New York.

The arc of history in every nation has its sadly forgotten men, women and children. Hauntingly powerful, NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA draws our eyes and hearts back to an ongoing, under-reported tragedy. _ Curtis Chin Milken Institute fellow and former U.S. Ambassador.

Everyone who took part in this performance, and those who came to see it, although of different races and thinking, all felt clearly the existence of what we know is so important …. I have lived to see many people who hurt others out of selfishness, betrayed others without qualms, and then went on to hide what they had done. But in the end, what is desired is not achieved, leaving only hunger, and, because of that, the cycle gets repeated …. I pray more people will be able to feel love through seeing this performance. _ Toshinori “Toshichael Jackson” Tani dancer, member of TL Brothers and instructor.

Bios of the artists in
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet

Cast, crew, filmmakers, director and writer of NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA

Cast, crew, filmmakers, director and writer of NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA

 

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

THE PLAYWRIGHT
YURI KAGEYAMA
is a poet, songwriter, filmmaker, journalist and author of “The New and Selected Yuri” and “The Very Special Day.” Her spoken-word band the Yuricane features Melvin Gibbs, Eric Kamau Gravatt, Morgan Fisher, Pheeroan akLaff and Winchester Nii Tete. She is published in ”Breaking Silence,” “On a Bed of Rice,” “Pow Wow,” Cultural Weekly, Y’Bird, Konch and Public Poetry Series. http://yurikageyama.com/

 

Carla Blank

Carla Blank

THE DIRECTOR
CARLA BLANK
is a writer, editor, director, dramaturge and a teacher and performer of dance and theater for more than 50 years. She worked with Robert Wilson to create “KOOL _Dancing in My Mind,” inspired by Japanese choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi. She directed Wajahat Ali’s “The Domestic Crusaders” from a restaurant reading in Newark, California, to Off Broadway and the Kennedy Center. http://www.carlablank.com/bio.htm

THE ACTORS

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

TAKEMI KITAMURA, choreographer, dancer, puppeteer, Japanese sword fighter and actor, appeared in “The Oldest Boy” at Lincoln Center, “The Indian Queen” directed by Peter Sellars; “Shank’s Mare” by Tom Lee and Koryu Nishikawa V; “Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed” by Dan Hurlin and “Memory Rings” by Phantom Limb Co. She has worked with Nami Yamamoto, Sondra Loring and Sally Silvers. http://takemikitamura.com/

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

MONISHA SHIVA is an actor, dancer, choreographer and painter, appearing in “The Domestic Crusaders” and “The Rats,” for theater, and independent films such as “Small Delights,” “Carroll Park,” “Echoes” and “Ukkiya Jeevan.” A native New Yorker, she has studied classical Indian dance and Bollywood, jazz and samba dancing, and acting at William Esper Studios and Studio 5. http://www.monishashiva.com/Monisha/home.html

Shigeko Suga Sara. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Shigeko Suga Sara. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

SHIGEKO SARA SUGA, actress, director, artistic associate at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, and Flamenco and Butoh dancer, has performed in 150 productions, including Pan Asian Rep.’s “Shogun Macbeth” and “No No Boy.” She dedicates her performance to her nephew Ryoei Suga, who volunteered in Kesennuma after the 2011 tsunami and now devotes his life there as a fisherman and monk. www.shigekosuga.com

THE MUSICIANS
STOMU TAKEISHI is a master of the fretless electric bass and has played and recorded in a variety of jazz settings with artists such as Henry Threadgill, Brandon Ross, Myra Melford, Don Cherry, Randy Brecker, Satoko Fujii, Dave Liebman, Cuong Vu, Paul Motian and Pat Metheny. He tours worldwide and performs at various international jazz festivals.

Kouzan Kikuchi (L) and Stomu Takeishi. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

Kouzan Kikuchi (L) and Stomu Takeishi. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

KOUZAN KIKUCHI, shakuhachi player from Fukushima, studied minyo shamisen with his mother. A graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts, he studied with National Treasure Houzan Yamamoto. He has worked with Ebizo Ichikawa, Shinobu Terajima and Motoko Ishii. In 2011, he became Tozanryu Shakuhachi Foundation “shihan” with highest honors.

Joe Small (L) and Isaku Kageyama. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Joe Small (L) and Isaku Kageyama. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

ISAKU KAGEYAMA is a taiko drummer and percussionist, working with Asano Taiko UnitOne in Los Angeles, film-scoring extravaganza “The Masterpiece Experience” and Tokyo ensemble Amanojaku. A magna cum laude Berklee College of Music graduate, he teaches at Wellesley, University of Connecticut and Brown. http://isakukageyama.com/

JOE SMALL is a taiko artist, who is a member of Eitetsu Hayashi’s Fu-un no Kai and creator of the original concert, “Spall Fragments.” He has apprenticed for two years with Kodo, researched Japanese music as a Fulbright Fellow and holds an MFA in Dance from UCLA. He teaches at Swwarthmore College. www.joesmalltaiko.com

THE LIGHTING DESIGNER
BLU lived in New York for 20 years and was resident designer at the Cubiculo and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. A Bessie Award winner, he was lighting designer for renowned dance theater artists such as Sally Gross, Eiko and Koma, Ping Chong, Donald Byrd, Nancy Meehan and Paula Josa Jones.

THE FILMMAKER
YOSHIAKI TAGO, whose video was part of the live performance, has made NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA into a film. Tago also directed “A.F.O.,” “Believer,” “Worst Contact,” “Meido in Akihabara.” His short “The Song of a Tube Manufacturer” won the runner-up prize at the Yasujiro Ozu Memorial Film Festival in 2013. He served as film adviser for Takashi Murakami, and has worked with Nobuhiko Obayashi, Takashi Miike and Macoto Tezuka. He is a graduate of the prestigious Tokyo film school founded by Shohei Imamura.

YOSHIAKI TAGO

YOSHIAKI TAGO

From the playwright

The two sides of who I am _ poet and journalist _ have long been separate. I am a poet, first and foremost, I felt, and reporting is what I do for my job. But the 2011 Fukushima disaster brought those two sides together in a way that was undeniable, imperative and honest. I am filled with gratitude toward my collaborators, who have turned my words and ideas into a moving, convincing and honorable piece of theater. In this work, we defy the boundaries of cultures, race, generations and genres to tell the story about how our world has created a catastrophe. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. But it’s an important story.

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Akiyoshi Imazeki for photographs of Fukushima for video by Yoshiaki Tago for “Decontamination Ghosts;” Z Space, especially Drew Yerys, Minerva Ramirez, Wolfgang Wachaolovsky, Jim Garcia, Julie Schuchard and Andrew Burmester; Alex Maynard and Adam Hatch for the use of Starline Social Club for rehearsals; Mark Ong of Side by Side Studios for the poster design; Annette Borromeo Dorfman for program design and photographing the performance; Sally Gross, Ping Chong and Meredith Monk for help finding our cast; Ishmael Reed for ongoing support and Tennessee Reed for photography; Hisami Kuroiwa for her wise counsel, filmmaker Kate McKinley; LaMaMa Experiemental Theatre for showing the work in New York in 2015; Melvin Gibbs, Sumie Kaneko, Hirokazu Suyama and Kaoru Watanabe for the music at La MaMa; Bob Holman for presenting an initial reading at Bowery Poetry Club with Yuki Kawahisa, Pheeroan akLaff and Tecla Esposito; Makoto Horiuchi; Yoichi Watanabe and Hiromi Ogawa of Amanojaku taiko in Tokyo; all the members of the Yuricane spoken word band who inspired the poems and stories that developed into this work, and, last but not least, the people of Fukushima.

Yuri Kageyama reports from the no-go zone in Fukushima. Photo by Kazuhiro Onuki.

Yuri Kageyama reports from the no-go zone in Fukushima. Photo by Kazuhiro Onuki.

A World Premiere screening at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival Nov. 2, 2019.  From left to right: Festival founder and organizer Mel Vapour, director Carla Blank, writer/poet Yuri Kageyama and camera-person Kate McKinley. Photo by Tennessee Reed.

Accepting the award at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival Nov. 2, 2019. From left to right: Camera-person Kate McKinley, director Carla Blank, festival founder and organizer Mel Vapour and writer/poet Yuri Kageyama.
Photo by Tennessee Reed.

With director Yoshiaki Tago at the red carpet event.

In Amsterdam in September 2019 for the New Vision International Film Festival, where News From Fukushima was a Finalist Best Asian Feature Film.

more gala shots
News From Fukushima an Official Selection at the ARTS X SDGS festival

I talked about our film and all my great collaborators at the Silent River Film Festival, which screened NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA August, 2020.

https://www.facebook.com/SilentRiverFilmFestival/videos/644827306160921/

https://www.facebook.com/SilentRiverFilmFestival/videos/1021079638326778/

DECONTAMINATION GHOSTS _ a performance poem by Yuri Kageyama (excerpt from “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet”

Mounds of bags in Fukushima

Mounds of bags called “flexible containers,” or “fle-con,” in Fukushima. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

DECONTAMINATION GHOSTS a performance poem by Yuri Kageyama an excerpt from “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet” being performed at Z Space in San Francisco July 8-9, 2017. Written by Yuri Kageyama. Directed by Carla Blank. Performed by Takemi Kitamura, Monisha Shiva and Shigeko Sara Suga with Music by Melvin Gibbs, Isaku Kageyama and Kouzan Kikuchi. Lighting by Blu. Film by Yoshiaki Tago.

(with video and Drum and Fue, as in Kabuki Ghost scenes)

(In English speak normally, quickly)
Flexible Container
(Chant very slowly in Japanese, both voices together)
Fooh reh kooh she boo rew
Kon tay nah
Fooh reh kooh she boo rew
Kon tay nah
Fooh reh kooh she boo rew
Kon tay nah

Decontamination Efforts in Fukushima. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

Decontamination Efforts in Fukushima. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

Flexible Container
Foo reh kon
Foo reh kon
Foo reh kon
(One voice starts counting slowly and keeps counting slowly in Japanese. Overlay as the other voice starts, with the slow mechanical Japanese chant)
Hitotsu Futatsu Mittsu Yottsu Itsutsu Muttsu Nanatsu ….
Foo reh kon
Foo reh kon
Foo reh kon
Fooh reh kooh she boo rew
Fooh reh kooh she boo rew
Fooh reh kooh she boo rew
Kon tay nah
Kon tay nah
Kon tay nah
(fade out)

Note to readers: The Japanese government is backing expensive projects for giant shovels to scrape off topsoil in a stretch of land as big as the state of Massachusetts, and storing them in plastic bags, mounds and mounds of them _ 13 million flexible containers by the official count _ so areas in Fukushima can be declared safe enough for people to come back and live. This wasn’t attempted in Chernobyl, or any place in the world. The government is ending aid in March for those who evacuated from the areas being declared safe after decontamination. Before the 2011 nuclear accident, the government used to set the safe limit for radiation exposure at about 1 millisievert a year. But these days health experts are saying the definitive link with cancer is detected scientifically at 100 millisieverts a year or higher, and so Fukushima people at most will be exposed to far less at under 20 millisieverts, which, they say, would be safe.

Decontamination efforts in Fukushima

Decontamination efforts in Fukushima. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA _ in NY in 2015 and in SAN FRANCISCO in July 2017

Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet.

in NY in 2015 and COMING TO SAN FRANCISCO in JULY 2017

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet
written by Yuri Kageyama
directed by Carla Blank

Debuted at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York Sept. 11 – 13, 2015.

Music directed and performed by Melvin Gibbs, with Hirokazu Suyama, Sumie Kaneko and Kaoru Watanabe.

The Cast:
Takemi Kitamura (Miu)
Monisha Shiva (Poet)
Shigeko Suga (Yu)

Lighting by Blu
Film by Yoshiaki Tago

A pensive and provocative theater of dance, poetry, music and film:
Fukushima is the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Radiation is still spewing from the multiple meltdowns, reaching as far as the American West Coast.
Some 100,000 people were displaced from the no-go zone. But the story barely makes headlines.
“News From Fukushima” is a solemn reminder and a literary prayer for Japan.
It explores the friendship between two women, juxtaposing the personal and the intimate with the catastrophic.

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[caption id="attachment_1735" align="aligncenter" width="640"]NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, written by Yuri Kageyama, at La MaMa. From left to right: Shigeko Suga, Monisha Shiva, Takemi Kitamura. Photo by Tennessee Reed. NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, written by Yuri Kageyama, at La MaMa. From left to right: Shigeko Suga, Monisha Shiva, Takemi Kitamura. All Photos above by Tennessee Reed.

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musicians for NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet, written by Yuri Kageyama. Directed by Carla Blank. Music by Melvin Gibbs, Hirokazu Suyama, Sumie Kaneko and Kaoru Watanabe. In photo: Monisha Shiva as The Poet. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet, written by Yuri Kageyama. Directed by Carla Blank. Music by Melvin Gibbs, Hirokazu Suyama, Sumie Kaneko and Kaoru Watanabe. In photo: Monisha Shiva as The Poet. Photos by Yuri Kageyama.

Programs for NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet at La MaMa in New  York. Program design by Annette Borromeo Dorfman. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

Programs for NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet at La MaMa in New York. Program design by Annette Borromeo Dorfman. Photo by Yuri Kageyama.

And we get a little writeup in the local paper. The New York Times, among other local papers, including Steve Cannon’s “A Gathering of the Tribes,” listed our performance in its Calendar and Spare Time sections. The San Francisco Chronicle also highlighted our work in its Entertainment section.

article

Our NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet gets a mention in The San Francisco Chronicle

Our NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet gets a mention in The San Francisco Chronicle.

聴かせて魅せるニュース!『NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: 報じられない福島の大惨事を詩人が詠いあげる』でMelvin Gibbsがベースを奏でる。
News that enraptures and engages through Sound. A Poet sings of the unreported calamity at Fukushima in NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, and Melvin Gibbs plays bass. _ Katsumi.

“Yuri Kageyama, with her epic poem, Fukushima, has earned a place among the leading world poets. This poem proves that the poet as a journalist can expose conditions that are ignored by a media that is in the pocket of fossils fuel and nuclear interests. While black collaborators at MSNBC and other media outlets make money for their employers by promoting and gender and class civil war among blacks, stories about how the Fukushima disaster threatens the health of world citizens are neglected, maybe because General Electric, which still has interests in NBC, built the nuclear reactors at Fukushima. Is the Yuricane making up things? Fukushima has had far worse complications than the Chernobyl disaster. Check this out.”
_ Ishmael Reed.

reading my poem FUKUSHIMA in Tokyo

topojohide

Reading my poem FUKUSHIMA with my YURICANE band _ Hiroshi Tokieda (bass), Yuuichiro Ishii (guitar), Hide Asada (guitar), Morgan Fisher (keyboards) and Trupti (vocals) at Tokyo Salon. A book party for Tokyo Poetry Journal, Nov. 13, 2015. Photos by Eba Chan.

fukushima tokyo salon

FUKUSHIMA a poem by Yuri Kageyama
Vocals Lyrics by Trupti and Yuri

It’s a Meltdown nation
Since Three-Eleven
Covered in the fear
Of unseen radiation
But don’t you expect
Any revolution
All you will find
Is fear and contamination.

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
Instead of a holler
Hear just a whimper
They say it is safe
The kids like Chernobyl
Are coming down sick
With Thyroid cancer.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Well, they’re bound to keep on lying
But we’ve got to keep on trying
Though we’ve got one more case of cancer
So I’m not gonna let them cover up
Yes, I’m gonna be the Fukushima fighter

Y’all, it’s no hallucination
The refugees’ life
No compensation
No resolution
Just nuclear explosions
Get your dosimeter
Cesium in the water
Lost Imagination

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
The radiated Brothers
Faces are hidden
Goggles and masks
Like an astronaut
From head to toe
The Invisible workers

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Premature aging
Nerve cells dying
Sterility, deformity
Unborn baby
Blood count dissipation
Leukemia debilitation
DNA radiation
Godzilla’s affliction

Tsunami Demolition
God’s DeCreation
Genetic Devastation
Our next Generation.
Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
No-go zones forever
The World must remember.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

And we got stuck with massive meltdowns
They’ve got to stop with the clowning around
Coz here’s yet another case of cancer
No, I’m not gonna let them cover up
Yes, I’m gonna be the Fukushima fighter

Now they’ve gone by the point of caring
Some old bed they might be sharing
Won’t be long before we all get cancer
No, we can’t let them cover up
Let’s all get up and be Fukushima fighters

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OUR READING AT THE AAJA CONVENTION HYATT REGENCY SAN FRANCISCO FRI AUG 14, 2015.

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OUR POETRY READING AT THE AAJA CONVENTION HYATT REGENCY SAN FRANCISCO FRI AUG. 14, 2015.

Poetry written and read by Yuri Kageyama
Music by the Yuricane band
Melvin Gibbs bass
Hide Asada guitar
Hirokazu Suyama drums and tabla

We presented three duets _ all happened to be about death, “Kawabata Yasunari’s Room,” “A Poem for Kenji Goto” and “The Kamikaze” _ and an excerpt from my Fukushima series, which will be part of the performance piece debuting at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet,” Sept. 11 – 13, 2015 (please see next post for details).

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From Left to Right: Melvin Gibbs, Yuri Kageyama, Hirokazu Suyama, Hide Asada.
Photos by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.

FOR ONCE BEING A POET AND A JOURNALIST _ AT ONCE _ SAN FRANCISCO FRI Aug. 14, 2015

SFJAZZ with drums
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

I’m invited to speak at the Asian American Journalists Association annual convention in San Francisco.
The theme of my presentation is what a reporter does outside journalism _ in my case, the spoken word.
For once, I will be a poet and a journalist at once.
I have been a reporter at The Associated Press for nearly 25 years.
That’s a big chunk of my life.
I was a published poet long before I joined AP; I was writing poetry from my childhood.
I have kept those two sides of myself separate, not only because AP reporters must be objective and neutral, but more because I wanted to protect that delicate part of me that allows me to be a poet.
For a long time, I saw my true self as a poet and my role as a reporter as a job.
I wanted to write, and it is one way to get paid for writing.
But I believe in journalism.
I have learned over the years that there are key things journalism can accomplish that no literature can.
And that I am one and the same person.

Associated Press Correspondent Yuri Kageyama was a poet before she even thought about becoming a journalist. For years, she assumed the two areas of her writing were separate — one intensely personal, the other professional. Sometimes she struggled to simply find time to write poetry. But over the years, she has remained a poet, perhaps first and foremost a poet. Yuri speaks about reporting and reconciliation: how the Fukushima nuclear disaster really helped tie her dual passions together. And with her Yuricane spoken-word band, she will show that in action.

My YURICANE band features Melvin Gibbs (bass), Hide Asada (guitar) and Hirokazu Suyama Jackson (drums amd tab;a).

The Hyatt Regency hotel Pacific N Room (5 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco)

FRI Aug. 14, 2015. 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

MORE: Yuri Kageyama is a poet, journalist and filmmaker. She leads her spoken-word band The Yuricane. Her performance piece will open at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York in September. A reporter at The Associated Press. A magna cum laude graduate of Cornell. M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Here are some of her works at The AP.

FREE ADMISSION.
Please contact me through here for more information or to be on my guest list.

KAMIKAZE AND FUKUSHIMA (A MOTHER SPEAKS)

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KAMIKAZE AND FUKUSHIMA (A Mother Speaks)
Poetry by Yuri Kageyama
Music and Guitar by Hide Asada
at What the Dickens in Tokyo SUN July 5, 2015.

The Kamikaze _ A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

KAMIKAZE
A poem by Yuri Kageyama

Okaasan
Boku wa ashita shutsugeki shimasu.
I take off on my mission tomorrow.
I am so sorry I have not been a good son, leaving you so soon.
It’s such a peaceful evening _ so quiet I can almost hear the fireflies glowing.
I don’t know why, but I am filled with happiness, well, maybe not happiness, since I must say goodbye.
But this feeling fills my heart, all the way to the top of my pilot helmet, like a stretching sky without a single cloud.
I will fly my Zero, and fly and fly.
Into that perfect rainbow circle of hope.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: A MOTHER SPEAKS
A poem by Yuri Kageyama

Please listen and tell the world.
How our children in Fukushima are getting thyroid cancer, one by one.
My daughter is one of them.
Pediatric thyroid cancer is rare.
The chance for getting it is under one in a million.
One in a million.
But in Fukushima, it’s 112 out of 380,000 children tested, and the tally is growing.
This is Fukushima after Three-Eleven.
Beautiful Fukushima, where rice paddies stretch between lazy mountains.
Beautiful Fukushima, where snow falls everywhere like fluffy rice.
Beautiful Fukushima, where, when spring finally comes, cherry trees explode in pink chiffon.
But this is Fukushima after Three-Eleven.
No other place in Japan is like that.
No other place in the world is like that _ except for the Ukraine and Belarus.
But they say these cases are turning up because we are looking so much harder, testing all the children in Fukushima.
The authorities say they are playing it safe.
When no one really feels safe
After Three-Eleven in Fukushima.
My little girl got surgery and so her tumor was removed.
And the doctor told me: Aren’t you so lucky?
Aren’t you so lucky we did those tests to save your child?
If we hadn’t, the cancer might not have been found.
But I don’t feel lucky.
I don’t feel lucky at all.

FUKUSHIMA (reworked/revisisted) A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

I’ve added a stanza to the Fukushima poem and reworked it, incorporating suggestions from Ishmael Reed. A marvel how poetry works.

FUKUSHIMA
A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

Y’all, it’s a Meltdown nation
Since Three-Eleven
Covered in the fear
Of unseen radiation
But don’t you expect
Any revolution
All you will find
Is fear and contamination.

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
Instead of a holler
Hear just a whimper
They say it is safe
But the kids like Chernobyl
Are coming down sick
With Thyroid cancer.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Y’all, it’s no hallucination
The refugees’ life
No compensation
No resolution
Just nuclear explosions
Get your dosimeter
Cesium in the water
Lost Imagination

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
The radiated Brothers
Faces are hidden
Goggles and masks
Like an astronaut
From head to toe
The Invisible workers

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Premature aging
Nerve cells dying
Sterility, deformity
Unborn baby
Blood count dissipation
Leukemia debilitation
DNA radiation
Godzilla’s trademark affliction

Tsunami Demolition
God’s DeCreation
Genetic Devastation
Our next Generation.
Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
No-go zones forever
The World must remember.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

THE YURICANE BACK AT THE PINK COW APRIL 4, 2015

THE YURICANE BACK AT THE PINK COW SAT APRIL 4, 2015 TOKYO JAPAN
PHOTOS BY EBA CHAN

The Yuricane

Hirokazu Suyama Jackson

Hirokazu Suyama Jackson

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Excerpts from “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: MEDITATION ON AN UNDER-REPORTED CATASTROPHE BY A POET” debutng at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York September 2015, directed by Carla Blank with dance and music.

Yuri Kageyama – spoken word
Hirokazu Suyama Jackson – drums
Yuuichiro Ishii – guitar
Nobutaka Yamasaki – keyboard

MYTHICAL MONSTER
A Poem by Yuri Kageyama

Catfish sleeps
Buried in the mud
Of meltdown metal
A black-light coastline
Fifty reactors
Tomari to Genkai
Catfish moves
And the Earth rumbles
Sways its tail
And skyscrapers crumble
Swishes a whisker
Bridges, roads shatter
Catfish grows
Bigger and bigger
Eight snake faces
Eight dragon tails
Volcanic eruption
Yamata no Orochi
Monster lives
Our daughters and sons
Every year, a sacrifice
Hundred eight brave samurai
They’re all dead,
Trying to kill it