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NAGADORO: Rural Life after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
- Tom Gill (Professor of Social Anthropology, Meiji Gakuin University)
The Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 will continue to affect millions of people for decades to come. The tremendous scale and complexity of this catastrophic event make it almost impossible to comprehend what is really going on in Fukushima. Any researcher must contend with the widely varying levels of radiation, the differing conditions for return to evacuated zones, the mixed fortunes of the decontamination programmes, the massive variation in compensation payments and many other challenges. As Professor Gill notes: “I long since realized that my only hope of keeping abreast of events was to focus very tightly on a single small community that I could get to know reasonably well through a long series of field trips. That community is Nagadoro, a tiny hamlet of 71 households, on the southern edge of Iitate village. After 3.11, it absorbed more radiation than any other hamlet in the village, and it is currently totally evacuated and barricaded with locked gates and sentries on all the four roads that lead into it. In five years and 40 field trips, I have slowly got to know the people of Nagadoro as they undergo an agonizing series of trials and tribulations. By telling their story, I hope to offer a glimpse of what life is really like for the residents of the nuclear disaster zone.”
Professor of Social Anthropology, Meiji Gakuin University
Tom Gill is professor of social anthropology in the Faculty of International Studies at the Yokohama campus of Meiji Gakuin University. After many years researching casual labour, urban poverty and homelessness – (he is the author of “Men of Uncertainty: The Social Organisation of Day Laborers in Contemporary Japan (State University of New York Press, 2001),” an ethnographic study of day-laborers in the migrant worker doya-gai Kotobukicho in Yokohama, and “Yokohama Street Life” (Lexington, 2015) – his interest in marginal people has led him to fieldwork in the Fukushima nuclear disaster zone. He is co-editor with David Slater and Brigitte Steger of “Higashi Nihon Dai-Shinsai no Jinruigaku” (Anthropology of the Great Eastern Japan Disaster, 2013). An English-language edition, “Japan Copes with Calamity,” has been published by Peter Lang. http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~gill/