Minamata and Fukushima

Karen started today’s discussion with her presentation of “In light of Minamata” in which it was a sort of compare and contrasts between the “nature” of the two disasters and reactions from the government. While Minamata was clearly labeled a man-made disaster and Fukushima a “natural”-disaster: there was a rather similar response from the government and the companies associated (Chisso and TEPCO respectively)- a denial of responsibility. Furthermore, the question of the disaster being “over” was introduced. Can it really be over, if the mercury in the water as well as the radiation in the soil can only be diluted and not eradicated? It changes our perspective from thinking of a disaster being over to moving forward and learning how to live with them…

“what would it mean for the environment to be healed?


Due to the political structure of Japan and the societal pressure to conform, protest and social activism are seen as unpopular to engage with. Michael talked about the power role of women, especially mothers in activism in Japan. Women and children are seen as the most vulnerable of the population-when they suffer it becomes more tragic, and therefore social protests turn from factual and violent riots to emphatic movements.  Through the feminization of memory, the social movements appeal to societal values-which provokes the masses to voice their concerns and cause a change.


We briefly reviewed the history of some the places we will be visiting in Japan, such as Harajuku, where america transitioned from violence to desire and Meiji Shrine, the “Man-Planned” eternal forest. Throughout the viewing the Meiji Shrine Video, there were audible gasps and comments of awe due to the diversity found in the the “eternal forest.” The forest in the heart of Tokyo that surrounds Meiji Shrine is an interesting political as well as environmental experiment. After carefully planning the forest onto a wasteland, the forest has been left alone to take its own course…

明後日は日本に行きますね! 私はこの旅行に興奮しています。楽しみにしています。興奮みましょう、みんなさん!\(^o^)/