2018: Fukushima, Media, Democracy
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 16 | Number 3 | Aug 07, 2018
Fukushima, Media, Democracy: The Promise of Documentary Film
An Interview with Kamanaka Hitomi with Introduction by Katsuya Hirano
Translation and Footnotes by Margherita Long
Transcription by Akiko Anson
The original interview is available here (https://apjjf.org/2018/16/Translation.html).
This interview is accompanied by Margherita R. Long’s essay Japan’s 3.11 Nuclear Disaster and the State of Exception: Notes on Kamanaka’s Interview and Two Recent Films (http://www.apjjf.org/2018/16/Long.html)
Born in Toyama Prefecture, Kamanaka Hitomi entered Waseda University and joined her
friends in a filmmaking club. Kamanaka won a scholarship from the Japanese government and
spent time in Canada and the US between 1990 and 1995 studying at the National Film Board
of Canada and working as a media activist at Paper Tiger in New York. Kamanaka then
returned to Japan at the time of the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake that caused over 6,000
deaths and displaced over 300,000 people in the greater Kobe area of Japan in 1995. While
working as a volunteer for the victims of the e a r t h q u a k e , s h e b e g a n t o p r o d u c e
documentaries for NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) as a freelance director.
Kamanaka’s first nuclear-related film, Hibakusha at the End of the World (Radiation:
A Slow Death, 2003), won several awards, including one from Japan’s Agency for Cultural
Affairs for excellence in documentary. The film shed light on the transnational links of nuclear
policies and their fatal consequences by comparing radiation effects at the Hanford
Nuclear Reservation in the State of Washington, the effects of depleted uranium on
Iraqi citizens during and after the first Gulf War, and victims of the atomic bomb in
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hibakusha was the first of three works that came to be known as Kamanaka’s “nuclear trilogy.” Her second work, Rokkasho Rhapsody .....