HIBAKU - Marching at Fukushima Daiichi NPP

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  • Idea/performance/text/sound and video editing: Tashi Iwaoka
  • Text advice: Kazuma Glen Motomura
  • Music: Masayuki Matsumoto, Merzbow, Aiuchi Megumi / Young Fresh and Tsukimono
  • Production: Ehkä, BodlabOT and WASSERZEICHEN Performance Festival

This solo work was created to spread information about the situation at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (Fukushima Daiichi NPP) and to give its concerns a form of theatrical performance, aiming to generate the foundation for a global consciousness that wishes for and move towards the future without nuclear dependence.

Hibaku means 'being exposed to radiation' in Japanese.

This is an avoidable consequence for working at a nuclear power plant or living in Fukushima, or actually, in most of Japan since 11 March 2011.

Deeply concerned with the nuclear disaster, Iwaoka visited Fukushima in August 2012 as his attempt to understand the situation in Fukushima through his own experience. He visited different areas in Fukushima with help from a local resident in Iwaki city. There were some quite high radiation areas where they had to wear protection masks to prevent internal exposure.

He had made some video recordings in Fukushima and used them in the solo, as a means to reflect the (un)reality of Fukushima as he saw, and also to give some abstract, and hopefully, poetic views on them.

"HIBAKU - marching at Fukushima Daiichi NPP" is his tribute to the workers who worked and has been working at the nuclear power plant, and people living under high radiation in and around Fukushima.

The solo work was first shown as part of WASSERZEICHEN Performance Festival as a double bill programme with Stefano Taiuti's Still Water, at Kunsthaus Rhenania in Cologne, Germany.

The projected texts:

Video footages you see in this performance were shot by the performer in Fukushima between 20 and 22 August 2012, 529 days after the disaster.
On 11 March 2011 the big earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan.
Many cities and tens of thousands of lives were lost.
Confronted by the power of nature, man-made constructions were nothing but like small toys on the surface of the earth.
By the following day Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 1 of 439 in the world, was experiencing multiple meltdowns for the first time ever in human history.
The damaged nuclear reactors released enormous amounts of radioactive materials into the environment.
Totally out of human hands, at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, still thousands of people are working under incredibly high radiation to settle the situation by cooling down the damaged reactor cores with tons of water, alongside with other urgent tasks to secure the site and reduce the radioactive contamination.
When internally exposed to radiation, it will keep irradiating the body from within and the body continues being damaged until the radioactive materials are ejected by biological processes.
Working at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could cause malfunctions of the body including cancer and leukemia in a longer term.
Even under such risks the workers must work to keep their jobs and also for not making our future worse than the present situation.
Only if we could see, smell, taste or hear the radiation, we could better protect ourselves from being both externally and internally exposed to such high levels of radiation…

- first part -

The body being damaged by radiation from both outside and inside
That is the future of Fukushima's new generations
Yet we will keep walking towards the future
As it is the only place we have left

- second part -

In the darkness of despair there could still be a light
Would it guide us to the path that we could not see as we were blinded by our thirsty dreams?

- third part -

We are living in our future now

Watch the video of the performance shown 2013 in Turku, Finland.

Learn about "Hope Step Japan!" project.

About the artist

Tashi Iwaoka, Ehime (Japan) 1976

The Amsterdam based performance artist/choreographer/theatre maker Tashi Iwaoka studied Contemporary Arts (BA) at Nottingham Trent University (1997-2001 Nottingham UK), Dance and Choreography as a guest student at School for New Dance Development (2002-2003 Amsterdam NL) and Performance Research at DasArts (2004-2007 Amsterdam NL).

He practiced Butoh based bodywork for over 10 years since 1997, after his first Butoh experiences with Kazuo Ohno and Kim Itoh in Japan. He has shown his work in several countries in Europe. Currently he is practising Budo, Japanese martial arts, and working on finding the nucleus of human expression and connection in relation to other movement techniques he has learnt.

Iwaoka is a founding member of Ehkä-production, an international collective of independent performance and dance makers, based in Turku, Finland.

HIBAKU – Marching at Fukushima Daiichi NPP

A solo work created to spread information about the situation at Fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant (Fukushima daiichi NPP) and to give its concerns a form of theatrical performance, aiming to generate the foundation for a global consciousness that wishes for and move towards the future without nuclear dependence.