All Photos by Junji Kurokawa.
Hirokazu Suyama Jackson (tablas) and I did a reading of excerpts from the multi-media performance piece I wrote NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: MEDITATION ON AN UNDER-REPORTED CATASTROPHE BY A POET at The Container gallery, which is in a hair salon in Daikanyama, Tokyo.
Thanks to novelist and GLASS magazine writer Peter Yeoh and John Carpenter of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for kindly organizing and having us at the event.
A MOTHER SPEAKS (an excerpt from NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA)
Poetry 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.
MYTHICAL MONSTER (an excerpt from NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA)
poetry by Yuri Kageyama
The Catfish sleeps
Buried in the mud
Of meltdown metal
A black-light coastline
Tomari to Genkai
The Catfish moves
And the Earth rumbles
Sways its tail
And skyscrapers crumble
Swishes a whisker
Bridges, roads shatter
The Catfish grows
Bigger and bigger
Eight snake faces
Eight dragon tails
Yamata no Orochi
The Monster lives
Our daughters and sons
Every year, a sacrifice
Hundred eight brave samurai
They’re all dead,
Trying to kill it