Skip to content

Novelist Yu Miri: Olympics not helping Fukushima rebuilding via The Washington Post

By Mari Yamaguchi | AP

TOKYO — Yu Miri, who won this year’s National Book Award for translated literature, says Tokyo’s Ueno Park, where a homeless man kills himself in her award-winning story, looks very clean ahead of next summer’s Olympics. Still, she says, that doesn’t help to raise hope amid the coronavirus pandemic and the delayed recovery of the disaster-hit Fukushima region.

The park is a main setting of Yu’s award-winning novel, “Tokyo Ueno Station,” in which the protagonist, Kazu, a seasonal worker from Fukushima, ended up. The elderly man first came to the Japanese capital a year before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for construction work.

Yu said at a Tokyo news conference Wednesday that she visited the park recently and it was surprisingly clean, but that an area where she used to interview homeless residents for her book has largely been eliminated.


The story was based on her interviews with homeless squatters living in huts made of cardboard boxes and blue plastic tarp more than 10 years ago. She said she was also inspired by about 600 Fukushima residents she interviewed while hosting a local radio program that she started a year after the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The triple meltdowns at the plant caused massive radiation leaks to the outside, contaminated the surrounding areas and displaced as many as 160,000 people from the no-go zones and elsewhere in the prefecture. Most of those places have been reopened as the government has tried to showcase the recovery ahead of the Tokyo Games, but those who returned to their homes are largely elderly people.


But their lives have significantly changed — for the worse — since Yu finished the book, with a growing sense of isolation among Fukushima residents amid preparations ahead of the Olympics, and the coronavirus pandemic that has made them more isolated, said Yu. She has since moved to Minamisoma, where she opened a book café in hopes of creating a place for locals to get reconnected after displacement due to the nuclear disaster.

“Both the nuclear accident and the coronavirus pandemic have revealed distortion and inequality in society,” Yu said.


She said disaster-hit areas have not recovered enough and preparations for the Olympics have taken away resources and jobs from the recovery projects, becoming part of the reasons delaying their reconstruction. “Organizers should have seen the level of progress of the reconstruction before deciding to host the Games,” she said.


Many of those Yu interviewed had worked as seasonal workers in Tokyo during Japan’s post-war economic advancement. When they finally came back to have an easy retirement life back in their hometown, they lost their homes in the Fukushima disaster. “A man told me it was back luck, and the word got stuck in my chest like a thorn,” she said.

Yu remembered another thorn she has had in her chest from her past conversation with a homeless man. He told her that those who possess the roof and walls don’t understand the feelings of those who don’t.

Read more at Novelist Yu Miri: Olympics not helping Fukushima rebuilding (emphasis added)

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , .

12 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Free Job Alert says

    I really Respect Novelist, They are Always exceptional
    Latest Govt jobs

  2. raziaa says

    Interestingly you write, I will address you’ll find exciting.

  3. ef adults says

    Long-term exposure to air pollution in cities causes a number of diseases, including increasing the risk of death for Covid-19 patients. The pandemic period has become the momentum to promote environmentally friendly city planning

  4. کد تخفیف دیجی کالا says

    کد تخفیف حدید دیجی کالا را همین حالا دریافت کنید

  5. خرید نهال گردو says

    گلد نهال بهترین مرکز تولید و عرضه انواع نهال گردو از سال 1369 تا اکنون

  6. Movierulz says

    Movierulz is a notorious piracy website that allows its millions of users to download or stream pirated HD movies and series in HD format for free. This big platform is accountable for streaming the newest and old English, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu films.

  7. dark web links says

    The question of how to use credit card from dark web links has been bothering many net users because these unknown web sites do not offer any services or goods that can be used online. This is one reason why many people do not trust on these websites especially when they are tempted to click on links provided in pop ups. But if you will learn how to use credit card from dark web, then you may be able to enjoy the benefits brought by online shopping without worrying about the risk of fraud and theft.

  8. Flooring Installation Catonsville MD says

    It is a great website.. The Design looks very good.. Keep working like that!.

  9. spss crack says

    IBM SPSS Statistics Crack is a powerful tool used for analyzing statistics, managing data and documents. It helps users quickly hold a significant business, user, social science, and many other relevant fields. ibm spss statistics crack

  10. avast antivirus crack says

    easeus data recovery crack is the best accessible data recovery software to recover all lost data – recover lost data from hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, memory card, digital cameras, cell phones, music, and other media, feedback, software crash, faulty hard drive, virus infection, distribution or other errors. Just three steps and a few clicks to get EaseUS data recovery full crack everything you can fall back on!

  11. indian matka says

    That way the rules of the game are like on the official satta matka site, which means that you can play with two steps at once. Not only predicting matches, but you can also add up goals as well. This odd-even gambling game site, is very much played because the potential for winning is very large. Come on, play now for free on our blog

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Novelist Yu Miri: Olympics not helping Fukushima rebuilding via The Washington Post linked to this post on 2021/05/06

    Trenton Covell

    I found a great…

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.