Project Fukushima! will make its Seattle premier on November 23, 2014. • Photo by Ryosuke Kikuchi
Project Fukushima! will make its Seattle premier on November 23, 2014. • Photo by Ryosuke Kikuchi

After full-house screenings at the Fall Festival in Bellevue in September, the documentary film Project Fukushima! will be making its way to Seattle. With Washington state exploring the possibility of building small modular nuclear reactors, the film carries a message that all Washington residents should consider.

Just five months after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, a group of Japanese artists and musicians including Otomo Yoshihide held an arts festival in the city of Fukushima. They called their festival simply “Fukushima!” without any qualifying slogans or descriptions, aiming to counter the negative associations the name had taken on in the wake of the nuclear accident. Though little-known outside Japan until now, the festival was a success: 13,000 people were in attendance and an additional 25,000 viewed streaming coverage of the festival online.

Featuring music and poetry by Otomo Yoshihide, Michiro Endo, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ryoichi Wago and others, this 2012 documentary film matter-of-factly follows their preparations leading up to the festival as well as the day of the festival itself and a few months afterwards. Three years on from the earthquake and tsunami, the film serves as a reminder of the new reality that faces Fukushima residents following the nuclear accident. With an artistic documentary approach, the film reveals more universal themes as well in chronicling the group of artists’ highly unique response to the disaster.

The film also explores how the lives of people in Fukushima have changed and what the future might look like for the next few generations.

‘Project Fukushima!’
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington
Sunday, November 23
1414 South Weller Street
Free. Doors open 1:45 p.m., film starts at 2:00 p.m.

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