Reading excerpts from NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA

Yuri Kageyama and Hirokazu Suyama Jackson at The Container gallery in Tokyo for a poetry reading. January 2016.

Yuri Kageyama and Hirokazu Suyama Jackson at The Container gallery in Tokyo for a poetry reading. January 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa


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.

Yuri Kageyama and Hirokazu Suyama Jackson at a Poetry reading in Tokyo

Yuri Kageyama and Hirokazu Suyama Jackson at a Poetry reading in Tokyo

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
Fifty reactors
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
Volcanic eruption
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

Hirokazu Suyama Jackson and Yuri Kageyamat at a poetry reading in Tokyo

Hirokazu Suyama Jackson and Yuri Kageyamat at a poetry reading in Tokyo

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

KAMIKAZE A POEM BY YURI KAGEYAMA

KAMIKAZE
A poem by Yuri Kageyama
with
Yuuichiro Ishii on Guitar

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.

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photo by Eba Chan

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.

MY POETRY WITH MUSIC AT MORGAN SALON SAT JUNE 13, 2015

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Photos by Eba Chan.

Who: Rock Legend Morgan Fisher plays host to a collaboration with Poet Yuri Kageyama and the Yuricane _ Hirokazu Suyama Jackson (drums), Yuiichiro Ishii (guitar) and Nobutaka Yamasaki (keyboards) in Morgan Salon No. 5

What: The Spoken Word, Improvisation, Film, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Swing, Funk, Life and Death and other Meanings and Moments.

Where: At Morgan’s. A fine minute walk from Daitabashi Station (Keio Line near Shinjuku)  2-2-4 Izumi Suginami-ku Tokyo 168-0063

When: SAT June 13, 2015 7 p.m. (doors open 6:30 p.m.)

Another Who: SPECIAL GUEST Trupti Pandkar vocals.

Why: Why not?

My Poetry and Music with Morgan Fisher. Poster by Annette Borromeo Dorfman. Photos by Eba Chan.

My Poetry and Music with Morgan Fisher.
Poster by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.
Photos by Eba Chan.

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Photos by Eba Chan.

The Warning _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

The Warning _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Writers
Beware:
What defines
A Square?
Those Who keep
Looking Around
To see Who’s
Giving them
The Glare,
Wooing approvers
With Sexual favors,
Unlike
The Poet
Who Listens
Only
To
That Voice
Within

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