Manga about work at Fukushima No. 1 stirs locals’ ire via The Japan Times

Cartoon characters who suffered nosebleeds after a visit to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are turning into a headache for manga publisher Shogakukan.

Locals are apparently angry about the “misleading” depictions in an episode of the popular manga series “Oishinbo” published Monday in the weekly Big Comic Spirits magazine.

Visiting the stricken plant two years after the 2011 nuclear catastrophe, a group of characters, all newspaper journalists, are momentarily exposed to hourly radiation levels of 1,680 microsieverts. After their tour, which takes them near the plant’s six reactors, lead character Shiro Yamaoka begins to complain of “extreme exhaustion” as well as sudden nosebleeds that span days. His colleagues confess to suffering similar symptoms.

Later, when they meet a character named Katsutaka Idogawa — based on a real-life former mayor of the town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture — they learn that he too has suffered repeated nosebleed attacks and felt “unbearably sick” since the accident.

“Many Fukushima residents have been afflicted by the same symptoms. It’s just they don’t say it openly,” Idogawa tells them.

In another scene of the episode, the team of reporters complain that they were allowed to publish only a handful of photos taken at the site, an apparent dig at plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co’s rigorous censorship of the media.

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